Do you like running in Central Park or Van Cortlandt Park more? --Josh, Bay Shore, NY
I prefer Van Cortlandt Park because I can tailor the run to my needs. I usually start on the Yonkers flat trail, and if I am feeling up to it on a particular day, I can hop on the infamous backhills and Cemetery Hill for some killer climbs. Then, if I need to finish the run with some strides or drills, I can head over to the Van Cortlandt Park track. It is great to have so many options in one place. Plus, with fewer runners and wide, shaded trails, running here feels like a respite from city life.
What is the one NYC spot you always try to take out-of-town friends when they visit for the first time? -- Emily, Des Moines, IA
Well, this answer is not going to win me any favor with the city's socialites, but if I am being honest, then Dallas Bar-B-Que on W. 72nd St. You don't exactly go here for quiet conversation. The food is tasty, the prices low, the portions enormous, and the drinks bigger still. It's how to do NYC on a budget. If my cousins or parents are coming to town, we will always schedule a visit to Little Italy- a little kitschy, but a nice selection of Italian eateries nonetheless and an excuse to eat some gelato.
As a Columbia grad, I'm sure you have an affection for the Upper West Side, but, putting the Upper West Side aside, what is your favorite neighborhood in New York and why? -- Shannon, Acton, MA
I'm going to eschew the expected LES (Lower East Side) or Gramercy Park areas. While these areas are full of neat restaurants, great shopping and young, hip professionals, I'd probably feel like an outsider. Park Slope, Brooklyn is more my style in that it has a more neighborhood feel, spacious apartments and plenty of greenery, yet it's still quick subway ride to Manhattan. In my different life, I would choose to live in this area.