New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

Looking for something to do as the weather chills but not ready to hibernate and lose your sense of New York City adventure? I’ve rounded out a few incredible things to do so you won’t be bored, and you’ll still have the chance to put your English skills to use with chatting with others, cheering people on, or even singing along—November is a great time to experiment!

Finding things to do in New York City when the weather starts to turn from chilly to flat-out cold can be a bit difficult. I can tell you over and over again to dress warm or to be prepared, but that first bite of winter will always be a shock, no matter how much you prep and plan for it! It can be really easy to start to nest once those cold temperatures start to break through, but try and resist the temptation to start hibernating! I’ve included plenty of things to do in New York City for the month of November so you can continue to get the most that the city has to offer!

  1. New York City Marathon, November 5, 2017

This is one of New York City’s biggest annual events. Held every year in November, the New York City Marathon is the largest in the world in regards to the number of participants. The course goes through all 5 boroughs in New York City. It starts in Staten Island, moving along through Brooklyn then glides through Queens. From there, runners will cross the East River via the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan, climbing up First Avenue into the Bronx and then returning to Manhattan, finishing beside Tavern on the Green. Thousands of supports come to support their friends and family members, and for the rest of the day, the New York City population is thriving with excitement and energy. If you know anyone running, consider looking up the run’s path and find out a good spot to watch for them. Luckily, these days, they have apps that allow you to track your favorite runner so you can tell exactly where they are! Also, this is a great opportunity to chat with fellow cheerers and be sure to check out all the homemade encouragement signs people bring with them—great way to pick up some great new English lingo!

  1. The New York Comedy Festival, November 7 – November 12, 2017

If you’re a fan of stand-up comedy, this multi-day celebration is just for you. Over a dozen of today’s hottest comedic acts will be in multiple venues throughout the city during this week, so be sure to check out where your favorite will be. Act quickly because these shows fill up quickly, and you wouldn’t want to miss any of these great shows! Many of them will be taped for television specials, so be sure to dress your best! If listening to English is still a bit tricky for you, pull up some of their online specials to get used to their humor or the way they use their English. This will help you prepare for their routines before you get there. This is also a great way to make friends with others that share your favorite comedian or appreciate the same lines that you do!

  1. Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starting November 10, 2017

It’s hard to believe that we’re already talking about preparing for Christmas, but you should know by now that New York City doesn’t anything half-assed! One of the most famous New York City destinations is Radio City Music Hall, home to the Radio City Rockettes. As an annual musical holiday stage show, be prepared for 90 minutes of incredible music, dancing, and surprising humor to get you ready for the holiday season. Since 1933, this show has been put on for thousands of people over the decades. Part of the reason they have the program starting so early is due to high demand, so if you have your heart set on attending the show, consider booking way early in advance or checking it out in November before all the holiday tourists come for the show! Another great part of this performance is that exists in digital recordings as well, so you can experience the performance before you even get there. This way, you can practice your English in song or communicate your favorite scenes with other attendees.

Category : Stay in New York

Another one of my absolute FAVORITE things about fall is football season. Since I was little, I was obsessed with the sport and would beg my parents to take me to games. It was odd to them since most girls typically didn’t love football as much as I did, but it just stuck! As I grew up, I found that I somehow fell in love with it even more and realized that my passion for the sport helped make me a lot of friends (and enemies depending on which team the other person liked!), and to this day, the start of football season is the most exciting time of the year to me.

If you’re new to the United States, you may not be too familiar with the sport. In other countries, football is a different sport—they call it football, and we call it soccer, so keep that in mind while you’re doing research on it! Since you’re new to New York City, it might help to know that New York has two major football teams: the New York Giants and the New York Jets. If you remember my post from the spring about baseball and New York’s teams, I discussed how seriously New Yorkers take their fandom, and the same can be said for these two football teams.


For the most part, the majority of the games are played on Sundays from September until the Super Bowl, typically held in the first week of February. Games are sometimes played on Thursdays, Mondays, and even Saturdays on occasion depending on the holiday schedule. You might notice that Sundays in New York City just get a bit louder with everyone wearing their team’s jerseys, chanting their team’s songs, and the combination of cheering and/or booing depending on the game’s outcome. Football is very cherished for New York City, so you’ll notice they take it very seriously. If you need to get up early on Monday mornings, I recommend wearing ear plugs on Sunday nights just in case the fandom carries on into the late evenings!

Because New Yorkers are so vocal about their fandom, this is a great chance for you to pick up on their phrases, how they interact with one another, and their cries of either celebration or defeat following the end of a game. What a great way to practice your English, right? Consider asking your fellow game-watchers about their favorite players, or if you feel comfortable enough with your company, ask them questions about the logistics of the game so you can understand better. Just feel it out—you don’t want to disturb them if they happen to be watching intently!

For your benefit, before you head out there blindly on a Sunday afternoon, here’s a brief rundown of New York City’s two main teams.

New York Giants (colors are blue, red, and white; their logo is a giant G)

Even though the team’s name says New York, their field is actually in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Some of their nicknames are Big Blue, G-Men, and the Jints. Most recently, the team won the Super Bowl in 2011, so some of the hardcore fans are still generally pretty excited about the win. This year, the Giants are prospected to have a decent year. They’re not at their strongest in recent years, but they should have a pretty fulfilling season ahead of them!

New York Jets (colors are green and white; their logo is simply JETS)

Here’s an interesting fact: the Jets and the Giants actually share the same field in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It creates some scheduling conflicts from time to time, but hey, the comradery couldn’t hurt, right? You might over hear people spelling out their name often, like, “J-E-T-S!” since their only nickname is Gang Green. Unfortunately, the Jets haven’t seen the same amount of success as the Giants have, as they have never won a Super Bowl, while the Giants have won 4. The Jets aren’t predicted to have a successful year, as they’ve fallen on some pretty bad luck over the years

Before you think you’re not linguistically skilled enough to head out into public on Football Sundays, just relax and remember that the game itself doesn’t rely on words—it simply relies on the actual movement of the ball between the players. But before you know it, you’ll pick up on it, and soon enough, you’ll be cheering with the rest of them!

Category : How to Learn

Halloween is a very exciting time of the year in not just New York City, but it’s celebrated all over the country as a fun yet spooky holiday. While the idea around the holiday itself is meant for children to have fun with it so they can dress up as their favorite superhero or character, what they want to be when they grow up, or just something scary, like a ghost, a witch, or a zombie, adults often get into the spirit as well. There have been decades of films produced around this holiday, people construct haunted houses to get everyone in the mood, and families even decorate their homes with jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, and fake cobwebs. If you’re not familiar with the tradition, it might seem odd, but it’s fun and harmless, so welcome to the annual celebration of Halloween!


In New York City, just like anything else here, Halloween is a big and elaborate production. There are endless parties and gatherings revolved around the holiday, and on October 31 each year, you’ll be surrounded by people in all sorts of creative costumes, so be prepared! If you’re practicing your English, this is a great chance for you to put your skills to use, as you’ll be in costume, so you’ll be protected by the barrier of your different and mysterious identity! Here, you can ask a stranger a question you’re otherwise too embarrassed to ask, or maybe you go out on a limb and introduce yourself to a stranger whose costume you find impressive.

  1. New York City’s 44th Annual Village Halloween Parade; Tuesday, October 31, 2017

This parade is easily the largest Halloween celebration in New York City. The organizers only allow you to participate if you’re in costume, so if you have your heart set on this event, make sure you come up with something clever! If you simply want to be a spectator, the parade starts at Spring Street and runs all the way down to 16th Street down 6th Avenue. The parade runs approximately 4 hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to catch it all! This parade attracts thousands of people in the city, so make sure you allow yourself plenty of travel time and stay hydrated!

  1. Blood Manor; 163 Varick Street; October – November

If you’re interested more in the “getting scared” feature that Halloween is all about, I highly recommend this destination for the ultimate thrill. With tickets starting at $40, you can make your way through one of the most celebrated and exciting haunted houses New York City has seen yet. It’s been featured in multiple television programs, magazines, and radio shows, praising its thrill level and the amount of authenticity in the experience. So if you’re looking for a good scream and a way to practice your English shouts of alarm and fear, this is your chance!

  1. Your Halloween Movie Round-Up

Thinking that you don’t want to spend the money on a costume, or maybe just not in the mood to deal with the crowds? (You sound like me!) A great alternative is staying in instead, heating up a bowl of popcorn, and finding some classic scary movies to watch in the comfort of your own home. This way, if you get scared and scream, no one else will have to know! Plus, as I mentioned in my previous movie post, watching American or English-speaking films is a great method in helping you round-out your English skills! Here are just a few of my favorites:

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • Halloween (1978)* This movie has several sequels, so make sure you start with this one!
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • House on Haunted Hill (1959)
  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
  • It (1990)* They actually JUST remade and released a new version of this, and I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ll report back when I do!
  • The Amityville Horror (1979)

Of course, no matter how you decide to celebrate your Halloween this year, you will no doubt have plenty of fun, as you have endless options since you’re in New York City. And even if going out to celebrate by dressing up or getting spooked is in your taste, stay in, avoid the crowds, and enjoy the comforts of being home! Just don’t forget to incorporate all your English skills into this holiday—it can be fun!

Category : New York

In this day and age, practically everything is consumed digitally now. We’re on the constant go with our smartphones, we can sync our televisions, computers, and tablets, and waiting on anything seems like it’s a thing of the past. When we’re talking about books, more specifically, we now also have the ability to download full books onto our devices so we can read while we’re commuting, travelling, or even just taking a bath. But for those that are still devoted to the idea of holding a tangible thing while reading, this digital era can be a little sad and for me, a bit heartbreaking. I studied English literature in college and graduate school, so I feel a very close connection to physical books, and the books that I own are like children to me. So when I moved to New York City, I made it a point to find all the independent bookstores that I could to ensure I continue to support the print publishing industry!


It goes without saying that reading books in English is a stellar way to strengthen your grasp on the language. Depending on your genre of choice, you can learn a lot through these pieces of work, and you’ll be able to pull a lot of English colloquiums from these publications. It’s a great way to put your skills to use—and be entertained at the same time!

Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite spots in New York City to get great books (that aren’t Barnes & Noble—they have enough income—our small businesses need our help!):

  1. Strand; 828 Broadway

I have to admit that the first time I came here was even before I formally moved to the city—that’s how eager I was to visit this iconic bookstore! From the outside, it looks like a typical corner vendor, but once you’re inside, you’ll discover 3 floors, books organized by genre, and other fabulous book-loving creatures like myself. I felt like a kid in a candy store in that place. What makes Strand unique is that it houses rare books, out-of-print titles (beat that, eBay!), and even glassed maps and art pieces. The store claims to have 18 miles of books within their walls—once you’re inside, you might start to think that there’s got to be even more than that! If you’re a book lover like me, be sure to make Strand at the top of your list for must-see destinations.

  1. 192 Books; 192 10th Avenue

This location is another tribute to classic literature, but it also has a healthy integration of art inspiration as the owners have an art background themselves. The location often hosts events and special readings by featured authors to generate traffic and excitement for the continuing art of the written word. The bookstore is a bit quieter than Strand, allowing for it to feel more like a private library, so get ready to unplug your phone and fall into a good book.

  1. McNally Jackson; 52 Prince Street

This location is fabulous with incredible space, intelligent lighting, and a wide variety of literature, treasured and time-sensitive pieces, and even archived magazine issues. Part of the reason McNally Jackson is so popular is because of its built-in café, providing refreshment and additional energy so you can tackle the other half of the store. Skip the other major booksellers for a more intimate experience that McNally Jackson can offer.

  1. Books Are Magic; 225 Smith Street (Brooklyn)

The owners of this establishment decided to use this space after another bookstore prior to its inception closed down. They didn’t want to see the space go to another coffee shop, so they took over and created this chic corner destination for book-lovers to come together and visit their favorite go-tos or discover a new favorite. Newly opened, Books Are Magic is already a neighborhood favorite, and the owners organize weekly events and invite authors to share readings for those looking to reap the benefits of having a bookstore in their neighborhood.

If you’re anything like me, reading is an integral part of your life, and having a tangible reminder in our hands of how we communicate with one another is a crucial part of the experience. Whether you’re new to New York City or have been here for a few years like myself, you’re sure to find dozens of other tucked-away literary gems that still treasure the value of the written word.

Category : How to Learn