New York City Ambassadors

Seeing New York City with The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles As My Guide

I love visiting New York City and getting lost. I have a horrible sense of direction. I cannot describe to you just how bad it is and how frustrating it can be at times. That being said, when I’m not on anyone’s time but my own and in an interesting place like Manhattan, it can be kind of nice. I usually end up finding something new. I used to visit New York and get lost once or twice a year, but more and more people I cared about kept moving there and making it harder to take time for myself and do tourist stuff. Last week I decided to take a trip for me and here’s what happened.

About three weeks before my trip I learned that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the official ambassadors of New York City for the second or third year running. I decided to check out the NYC tourism website to see what they had to suggest. The first thing I noticed was how well-suited to Donatello the itinerary on his page was… and how minimally it matched the personality of Raphael. Please understand that I am aware that these were not solely written with the turtle’s individual personalities in mind and that they probably had a list of things to include and divide up between four fictional characters. That being said, I’m a hardcore fan, so I was pretty scrutinizing of the whole thing.

I was originally going to do only Donnie’s itinerary, but I ended up being excited to do things from each of their lists. From Donatello’s list I chose The Hayden Planetarium, Astronomy Night on the High Line, and Holographic Studios.  My main goal was the planetarium as I had never gone to any planetarium for a show, but had always wanted to since I was a child. I had even been to the American Museum of Natural History, which houses the Planetarium, three times, but never into the planetarium itself as there is an additional, but small cost. Shout out to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s podcast StarTalk for furthering my desire to go. Keep in mind that to do the planetarium, you must pay full price for the whole museum, so the pay what you wish entry is not an option. Therefore, as to not waste your money, make sure you plan to at least an hour extra to see the museum highlights. If you have all day, you could easily spend 4 or more hours there digesting every exhibit.

After my time at the planetarium and a quick look at some of the new things at the museum, I soaked up some sun in Central Park which is coincidentally on Michelangelo’s list. The High Line ended up being a bust because I was meeting up with my friend a little more than an hour away and traveling back and forth for a 2 minute peep and Saturn’s rings filtered through the light pollution of NYC just didn’t seem worth it. Also, due to scheduling conflicts, I wasn’t able to do the Holographic museum, but boy do I want to. Fair warning, the price for a tour is $30, but I am pretty sure you will get a very intimate tour as when I called, the guy who answered made it seem as if he was the tour-giver.

I decided to cherry pick the Chinese Scholar Garden’s from Leonardo’s list and took the free 25 minute ride on the Staten Island Ferry which is an activity on Mikey’s list. The weather was perfect and I was able to snag a couple of donuts from Dunwell Doughnuts for the ride. The garden was magnificent and only cost $5 for admission. I mostly had the whole place to myself. There are other things to see where the garden is located in Snug Harbor, but I didn’t have too much longer to stick around. Also on Leonardo’s list is the One World Observatory, but I was lucky enough to be able to save the $30 (that I never would’ve spent to begin with) because a friend took me up to see their office on the 82nd floor. I was amazed at how beautiful the city was from that high up.


Honestly, the only thing that really intrigued me from Raphael’s list was the NYC Transit Museum. I had wanted to make it over there for a while. I didn’t go to the museum until an hour before close and this was a big mistake as it was much larger and more interactive than I had imagined. I would’ve loved to have spent 2 or more hours there and I may go back someday as it is a reasonable entry fee of $10.

I love how they made Mikey’s mostly food, but I’m vegan and most of those places don’t have many options for me. Luckily, I was in New York where some of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants are, so I hit up Screamer’s Pizzeria and got a couple slices. To be honest, 75% of my time was traveling around the city to visit places that are famous amongst vegans, so if you follow me on instagram @thelifeofamind, you’ll see mostly pictures of sandwiches I ate.

One thing that was not on the list, but I feel strongly about encouraging people to see is the old City Hall Station. I’d heard about it years ago, but had never seen it. You have to stay on the 6 train heading downtown and don’t get off when they say last stop at the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall stop. People say you can get in trouble because they announce that you must exit the train, but I don’t know if you will have to worry. Maybe just be a little discreet and don’t sit directly behind the conductor’s car. Head to one of the last few cars, as they pass by a little slower, and look out the right side. I almost missed it because I was on the left side. It is only a few seconds of splendor that you’ll get to witness, but totally worth it.

Some of the suggestions are things I may not have thought of doing if I hadn’t been made aware of them by the itinerary they each have. The fact that they are on the site at all is kind of awesome. I would recommend reviewing their lists soon because there are some gems in there and I don’t know how much longer the page will be visible.


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