Cities of the United States – TNT Magazine
Grab a bite of the Big Apple, then head to some of the best cities in the United States. Words: ELISE RANA
There are cities that are older, bigger, more historic, more beautiful – but if the world has one ultimate city, it has to be New York. A metropolis in motion and in the making, constantly evolving with each new soul that comes to throw its wish in the well and its ambitions in the ring, the New York star shines more than ever today, after the Giuliani cleansing, the stock market boom 1990s and the disaster of September 11.
With the dollar almost at two to the pound, the jump across the pond is still our favorite trip. But the chance to stock up on Levi’s and iPod goodies isn’t the only thing stoking our continuing love affair with the Big Apple. We are drawn here because it is our city. You know that before you get here, because if American popular culture belongs to the world, then this is our global hometown, our city of dreams paved in gold.
Whether you grew up in Sydney or Streatham, you know what kind of girl a Fifth Avenue princess is and how busy a place must be to compare to Grand Central Station. Before you even hail your first yellow cab in this town, you’ve sat on its park benches with Woody Allen, dragged around his dives in the East Village with The Ramones or his chic cocktail bars with Carrie Bradshaw, caught the little one. lunch at Tiffany’s with Holly Golightly (the print creation of Capote or the iconic screen version of Hepburn). When the Twin Towers burned down, we were all speechless in horror – it was our horizon destroyed forever.
So when you finally find yourself here, what do you do first? Some things you just have to play tourist for – Broadway shows, strolling through Central Park, going up the Empire State Building (preferably at dusk to skip the lines and see the city light up) . Before you set off, you must marvel at the Met and MoMA collections, be overwhelmed by the 360-degree advertising onslaught of Times Square, take the (free!) Staten Island Ferry to get a closer look at the flamboyant Woman Liberty, be solemnly impressed by Ground Zero.
While it’s tempting to think of this as the ultimate city break, an extra day or two will allow you to experience some of the less obvious but often the most rewarding aspects of New York City. Step out of Manhattan for the culture without the crowds, whether it’s gospel music in Harlem, seaside shows at Coney Island, the Brooklyn Museum or hang out with the hipsters in Williamsburg.
Far from the tourist traps of Little Italy or Chinatown, the Outer Boroughs are also the place where you will taste the true authenticity of New York’s bustling ethnic enclaves, eating pasta among the goodfellas of Belmont in the Bronx, in feasting on Indian thalis in Jackson Heights, Queens or eating dim sum in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. To learn more about the struggle of people who have pursued their dreams here from around the world, visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum or head to Ellis Island – portal for 12 million of them in just 64 years. . Or just let the hectic pace of life wash over you, watch the world go by and soak up the city.
Whether you leave your heart there or not, it would have to be stone so as not to flutter a bit at the sight of a pale haze swirling around the Golden Gate Bridge in front of one of the prettiest cities in America, cable cars climbing up and candy-colored houses rolling down the many hills that rise up against a blue bay. If you’ve got your own wheels, you can check off the highlights by following the blue and white seagull signs that mark 49-Mile Drive, a scenic wind through town. When you reach the tourist district of Fisherman’s Wharf, take a peek at the resident sea lions, but skip the souvenir stalls and wax museums and hop directly onto a ferry to Alcatraz. To appreciate that counterculture is king here, soak up the vibe of the proud Castro or the hippie Haight (if you go, be sure to wear flowers in your hair).
Come back : Cioppino, a tomato-based seafood stew served with pieces of sourdough bread.
Essential viewing: The Maltese Falcon, Bullitt, Vertigo, Dirty Harry, The Rock.
A century after its creation, this man-made fun playground in the middle of the Mojave Desert keeps getting bigger and wilder. Built on loopholes in gambling laws, gambling is the lifeblood of Vegas, although the over-the-top glamor and glitz that comes with so much moolah has become part of the draw for the millions of visitors who come here each year. year. Since the dawn of the mega-station in the 1990s, construction has been continuous as each tries to outdo the last. Each with its own theme (from the medieval Excalibur, Luxor to King Tut’s tomb plunder or the life-size pirate ship at Treasure Island to the Venetian Palace and the tropical Asian flavor of Mandalay Bay), these sprawling resorts are home to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, sports arenas, swimming pools, theaters, spas, water parks and, of course, casinos, which means guests never need to see the rest of the Strip let alone the light of day. Whether it’s a blackjack blowout or an Elvis wedding, misguided excess is the name of the game here, so let it go – and remember, what happens in Vegas, stays. in Vegas.
Come back : For a classic Vegas steak dinner for under $ 10, try the 16-ounce T-bone at Orleans’s Courtyard Café or the prime rib at Suncoast’s Café Siena.
Essential viewing: Casino, Ocean’s Eleven, Leaving Las Vegas, Fear and loathing in Las Vegas.
The images were unforgettable. When Hurricane Katrina hit the dikes broke and this famous city was all but washed away, it was a disaster of almost biblical proportions. A year and a half later, the city’s population is still only a fraction of what it used to be and many remain in tatters – bus tours to the hardest hit areas are now an attraction for visitors. Yet the miraculous survival of the French Quarter and the determination not to shake the festive spirit of the Big Easy have seen the number of visitors continue to rise. For even in its darkest hours, there is nowhere like New Orleans, with influences from its European, African and Creole colonial heritage shaping its unique architecture, cuisine and, most famously, its music – the birthplace of jazz is also home to a myriad of other styles such as cajun, zydeco, delta funk and hip-hop.
Come back : Café au lait and beignets (square shaped French donuts) at Café du Monde in the French market.
Essential viewing: Angel Heart, The Big Easy, A Streetcar Named Desire.
Located in the heart of the industrial Midwest, Chicago is not really a tourist city. And that’s why it’s our kind of city. Combining the ethics of blue collar honesty with the principles of free speech and independent thought, this is a place with warm characters and salt of the earth that cannot be chilled even by the freezing gusts that have earned the city its windy nickname.
Despite its towering buildings, the city is of a happily manageable size, with good public transport filling what cannot be done on foot. What’s nice here is the everyday: baseball at Wrigley Field, strolling downtown, then blues and beer until late.
Come back : Taste the city’s Central European heritage at a Chicago Red-Hot – a Viennese beef frankfurter served on a poppy seed roll with mustard, onion, sweet relish, tomato, pickles and celery salt.
Essential viewing: The Blues Brothers, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Road to Perdition, Chicago.
The business center of South America, Central America and North America, Miami is a global city in every sense of the word, a cultural melting pot more flavored by its large African, Caribbean and Latin American populations than something else – English, Spanish and Haitian Creole are the three official languages. Bordered to the west by the alligator-friendly subtropical Everglades swamps, the city stretches along the shores and barrier islands of Biscayne Bay and with the blazing Florida sun adding to the exotic, the Greater Miami beaches are a major draw. Take a walk by the bay to catch a glimpse of the lifestyle of the rich and famous, and don’t leave without sampling the elegant Art Deco buildings and bling-tastic nightlife of South Beach.
Come back : Arroz con pollo (chicken with rice, Cuban style) at Versailles in Little Havana.
Essential viewing: Scarface, there’s something about Mary, Miami Vice.
• Elise Rana traveled to New York with Flight center. Flight Center can also arrange accommodation in New York