New York City: More than Apples in the Big Apple

Text: John M. Flores • Photography: John M. Flores

New York City is the original melting pot. Generation after generation of immigrants from all over the world have come here to settle in neighborhoods in one of the five distinctive boroughs and make this place their own. A motorcycle is one of the best ways to unlock The City’s many delights, especially a bike like the Honda CRF250L Rally, with its commanding seating position, narrow “park anywhere” profile, and supple long travel suspension. On one fine fall day, I set out to rediscover the Big Apple.

Staten Island

The most suburban of the city’s five boroughs, Staten Island is a bedroom community for people who work in Manhattan and elsewhere. Most travelers never make it here. Sometimes, they jump on the “cheapest date in New York” (the Staten Island Ferry is still free), enjoy the boat ride through New York Harbor, land in Staten Island, and then turn right around and head back to Manhattan without leaving the ferry terminal. That’s their loss. They’re missing out on great Italian food (including pizza) and views that you can’t get anywhere else.

Brooklyn

The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge (the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1964) arcs high over New York Bay (high enough so that battleships and container ships can pass beneath it) and carries me into Brooklyn. This bridge is where the New York City Marathon starts, and the views are outstanding. With 2.6 million people, Brooklyn is a city unto itself (more populous than Houston, Phoenix, or Philadelphia) with neighborhoods and food options that go on and on. Want a genuine Nathan’s Coney Island hot dog? Come to Brooklyn. The best pizza I’ve ever had (see “Life of Pie” in the May/June 2015 issue)? Brooklyn. The best Filipino restaurant that I’ve ever been to? Brooklyn. Peter Luger Steakhouse? Brooklyn. Junior’s Cheesecake? You get the idea.

Somewhere in the 1980s, as rents increased in Manhattan, the creative class (designers, writers, painters, etc.) started leaving Greenwich Village and Soho for cheaper living in Brooklyn, and now, Brooklyn may very well be the hippest place on earth. Red Hook is one of those burgeoning hip neighborhoods, an old industrial district with craft breweries and restaurants slowly supplanting the old businesses.

From the Lords of Flatbush to Welcome Back Kotter, from The Patty Duke Show to 2 Broke Girls, Brooklyn has always had a vibe about it. 

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the May/June 2019 back issue.