With so many offices, restaurants and theaters closed, many New Yorkers are rethinking living in the city.
After a week driving around upstate NY and the suburbs with a Toyota Camry, I am definitely still a NYer.
Off to New Jersey
New Jersey is easy to mock, but once you get off the highway, you find a lot of love. We spent a day at the New Jersey Botanical Garden, a free garden in Ringwood State Park with easy walking trails.
Dogs aren’t allowed in the gardens, but that meant our friends could stretch out comfortably in the back seat.
Since we were visiting in early April, not much was in bloom. But the Zen rock garden and varied terrain – woods, streams and meadows – made the gardens interesting to explore.
Back in New York
West Point Foundry Preserve in Cold Spring is also a combo place: hiking and outdoor museum.
The Putnam County preserve has abandoned building ruins and waterfalls, along with a few short trails.
A giant waterwheel and information panels about the history of the Foundry spice up the trees and views expected on a hike. But you can also walk down to a brook and the Hudson River.
As Brooklynites, we don’t go to Queens that much. I took my daughter to the Queens Museum to see the panorama.
First we had to see the Unisphere, giant steel globe in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. This relic from the 1964 World’s Fair. This 350 ton, 120 foot in diameter is still the largest globe anywhere.
While the globe represents all the continents, the panorama, also built for the World’s Fair, represents all five boroughs of New York City.
You can see tiny planes taking off and landing at LaGuardia, (a three minute drive away in actual life) all the bridges criss crossing the city, and architectural models of every building in NYC, as of 1992.
The panorama has scale models of over 900,000 buildings, including public housing, brownstones, skyscrapers and suburban-style homes in parts of Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx. You can walk around the entire city and watch as the light changes from day to night.
Getting Around the City
You used to be able to take a tiny helicopter ride around the panorama; now you just walk. But for driving around the actual city, the hybrid Toyota Camry is the way to go.
The car gets about 46 miles per gallon and fit our family of five on a drive to the suburbs. The Toyota ‘Safety Sense’ technology, with pedestrian detection and rear cross traffic alert alleviate the wack a mole game that is NYC driving.
On the highway, dynamic radar cruise control and lane departure alert with steering assist help combat road fatigue. And automatic high beams are great for country driving.
Not only that, the Camry looks great. The red interior of the XSE model I drove, with a celestial silver exterior and black front grille was fancy enough to fit in anywhere, whether you are a city mouse or country mouse.
As for me, I’m staying firmly in the city.
Note: Toyota loaned me the hybrid Camry for this review. I was not otherwise compensated. Opinions expressed are my own.