Tourist In Your Own City

A Month of Reflection, Remembrance, and Celebration of New York’s Revitalization

September is an interesting time to be a New Yorker. The seasons haven’t quite turned, but the schools are back in session, and Madison Avenue is doing their damnedest to convince us that we need sweaters and boots, even while the temperature has changed little from the dog days of summer. It’s also a month fraught with history; rare is the person who can hear “September” and “New York” and not think back to that fateful day in 2001. That’s why, this month, our Tourist in Your Own City picks are equally festive and contemplative, allowing you to explore the full meaning of being in New York during this transitional – but ultimately beautiful – time of year. Honor the city’s past in Lower Manhattan, then head over to Little Italy to be a part of its present and its hopeful future.


Since September 11, 2002, lower Manhattan has been illuminated annually in remembrance of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. 88 bulbs, with 7,000 watts apiece, cluster within two 48-foot squares echoing the footprints of the towers; in the darkest hours of the night, the beams reach four miles into the sky and can be seen from up to 60 miles away, a memorial that transcends time and space.


Located within the dazzling Oculus at the World Trade Center site, Westfield World Trade Center is not so much a mall as a shopping experience. Sure, the retailers are world-class, but the setting is a true work of art, and there’s something innately satisfying about browsing the shops beneath the light streaming in from the street above.


For anyone whose Italian nonna ever urged them to “Mangia! Mangia!”: the annual Feast of San Gennaro takes over Little Italy from 9/14-9/24. Vendors line the streets of the historic neighborhood, selling all the cannolis, sausages, and braciole you can eat. There’s also a festival stage, with live music daily.


On Labor Day Weekend, get the heck out of New York without ever leaving the five boroughs. Staten Island’s Richmond County Fair is a charming dose of nostalgia just a ferry ride away, complete with rides and face painting, among other novelties. Who knew there was an authentic, original town and farm museum complex dating back to the mid- 1600s in New York City?


From a smoking rubble of confusion and chaos into a powerful tribute to hope: twin infinity fountains ringed with names cascade into the bedrock of Manhattan island, and the subterranean museum examines the events of the day and their historical and ongoing resonance. The memorial is a deeply moving place of reflection and remembrance appropriate to the magnitude of the events it commemorates.


Nothing so completely embodies the resilient spirit of New York as the towering pinnacle of One World Trade Center, the 1,776-foot tower erected at the site of the former Twin Towers. The observation deck is the best way to truly appreciate the scale of the largest building in the Western Hemisphere, and you can even raise a glass at the bar to the beautiful city beneath you.