The 5 best ways to Mingle with New Yorkers

1) Play chess in the park

Match wits with those who have made this a daily sport. It’s usually 5 dollars a game, played in a most speedy way. Look for guys in the SW corner of Washington Square Park (some cheating and trash talk!), the west side of Union Square Park, and Central Park’s Chess and Checkers House of 65th Street.


2) Dine at the bar instead of a table

Solo and duo diners, this is your chance to engage in conversation, and dine at those restaurants where it’s nearly impossible to get a reservation. Most restaurants will allow you to set up shop at the bar, but some places encourage it, like: Cosme, Union Square Cafe, Acme, Casa Mono.

3) Annual Feast of San Gennaro

This 11-day event is something that every New Yorker has done at least once in their life. Mulberry Street turns into a carnival of sorts with musical acts, games, and authentic Italian eats. A religious procession honors the saint rumored to have survived the flames of a fiery furnace.

Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy

Along Mulberry St

4) Central Park Dance Skaters Association

Flock to the Bandshell in Central Park to watch free-spirited dancing/skating. There are terrifically skilled performers, some who have been coming since the 70s when this phenomenon started. Week-ends April-October. Inspired? Head to Pier 2 Roller Rink in Brooklyn Bridge Park, rent skates and strut your stuff.

dancing skater in Central Park

5) Watch a parade

NYC hosts over 30 parades a year, bringing out the population to view. There are the well-known spectacles, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, but dig deeper to find smaller, fun processions like the colorful Lunar New Year in Chinatown, the Easter Parade where everyone dons their nest bonnets, and the Gay Pride where anyone can march.

New York - Easter Bonnet Parade


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