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One of my favorite things about living in New York City is how the most amazing sights and experiences are just around the corner. I’ve lived in Brooklyn for more than eight years, and even in areas of Brooklyn and Manhattan where I spend a lot of time, I’ll still walk down a block I’ve never walked down before and encounter something entirely new. Or the light will hit something just right and I’ll have this moment of “Wow—I live here!”

Case in point: On my daily walk to the R train, I pass The Grand Prospect Hall, an event space built in 1892 that has housed vaudeville shows, early motion pictures, masquerade balls, a Prohibition-era speakeasy, and countless movie shoots over the years. Today, it’s a wedding venue, party space, concert hall—and fulfiller of dreams, according to this amazing commercial. I haven’t yet been inside, but I’m keeping an eye out for open-to-the-public events this year!

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The Grand Prospect Hall

Another example: I have been taking dance classes at the same Lower Manhattan dance studio since 2006. Last year, I happened to walk down a street two blocks to the north of the one I usually take, and I saw this for the first time:

The African Burial Ground National Monument

The African Burial Ground National Monument

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The African Burial Ground National Monument is a site with remains of several hundred Africans—free and enslaved—buried in the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s this elegant, imposing, quiet, sacred space surrounded by Lower Manhattan’s bankers and politicians and tourists and general bustle, and it’s beautiful.

There are some NYC sights I never get tired of seeing. The Statue of Liberty. Lower Manhattan lit up at night from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (or Brooklyn Bridge Park). New York City with a dusting of snow (at least until people begin walking their dogs in it). I love standing between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges in DUMBO and feeling lost in the woods in Prospect Park. I love riding in the front car in the subway and watching the tunnel appear ahead of us, out of the darkness. Basically, I heart this city, and whenever I get frustrated with a delayed subway ride or the crush of tourists in Soho or the bitter February cold or the miserable August heat or the average rent in our lovely neighborhood—I picture all the things I love. I turn a corner and see something new. And I’m so happy to be here.

My husband and I like to go on NYC “adventures.” We’ve taken a tourist boat cruise around the tip of Lower Manhattan, gone to the botanic gardens in Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island, toured the abandoned Atlantic Avenue rail tunnel, checked out dozens of museums, visited the Bronx Zoo, and done so much more. I can’t wait to see what adventures 2013 will bring, and I can’t wait to share them here. (Spoiler—Justin’s never been to Coney Island, so that’s on this year’s list!)

What’s your favorite NYC spot or activity? Any hidden gems I should know about?

~Kathryn

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