New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

If you remember from my posts last year around this time, I tend to get a bit more jovial due to the warmer days, longer sunshine periods, and pops of color coming out of hibernation from the long and dreary winter. This is the time of year that I’ll open my windows and feel inspired to clean my apartment, pull out my lighter jackets, and head back outside after months of staying in to avoid the harsh winter temperatures. If you’re anything like me, you’ll start looking for ways to get outside and enjoy the cooperative weather and also look for unique and original things to do in New York City. If you think you’re running out of ideas, think again—I’ve got you covered with a few great ideas below.

spring in new york

If you’re new to the English language as well as New York City, I’ve included ways that you can practice your English while you’re at these events so your textbook learning can extend outside the classroom. From interacting with other event-goers to wishing your friends a “Happy Spring!” you’ll be able to exercise your English vocabulary and boost your confidence so you can step out this April with a little “spring” in your step!

  1. Easter Parade – Sunday, April 1

Easter is another fun holiday celebrated all over the world, and of course, New York City is no exception. This year, the Easter parade starts at 49th Street and runs up Fifth Avenue to 57th Street. People will often come dressed in their Sunday best, as it can often be seen as “Easter Sunday Mass.” Be sure to dress warm, as this time of year can be hit or miss with warm weather! Practice your English by asking people if they went on an egg hunt or ask the children if the Easter Bunny came for a visit. It’s a jovial celebration, so you’ll be greeted with lots of smiles. Plus, don’t be surprised if you’re showered with lots of candy or goodies, as vendors on floats might gift the parade-goers with fun and seasonal treats. So “hop” on over to Fifth Avenue just before the 10 am start so you can see it all go down—and if you play your cards right, you could catch sight of the Easter Bunny himself!

  1. The 9/11 Memorial 5K Run/Walk – Sunday, April 22

If you’re an active person, I highly suggest participating in this run. I ran last year, and I have to say—it was a blast, and it was also quite the humbling experience as we ran our way around the memorial. The path takes you through all over Lower Manhattan, granting you incredible sights of the city and the water. But the best part is that all proceeds benefit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, so not only will you be getting in some great exercise, but you’ll be contributing to a wonderful cause. After the run, there are tons of food trucks, booths, and activities so that you can practice your English with these vendors. You can chat about the run, the product they’re sampling, or even the weather—it’s a great opportunity to put your English skills to use.

  1. Spring Festival – Sunday, April 29

What better way to welcome spring with an actual celebration that honors the arrival of the season? If you’re up for a quick trip to Queens, be sure to check out all the features available with this festival. Vendors will be setting up booths with food and drink, activities for the kids, like face painting, puppet shows, and even a petting zoo, and of course, tons of live music. You’ll be able to put your English social skills to great use by interacting with other attendees—help them with directions, ask others where they got their food or drink, or even say, “Happy Spring!” to others around you. The warm weather and sunshine tends to lighten everyone’s mood, so you won’t have to worry about getting any kind of dirty looks! So pull out your light spring jacket, your most stylish shades, and some comfortable walking shoes, and get ready to celebrate the arrival of spring.

If you’re new to New York City and to the English language, don’t worry about getting lost in the spring shuffle; these activities will not only gear you up for the upcoming warm season, but you’ll get plenty of English language practice.

Category : New York

New York City is a common location set for movies and television, and it’s often the topic of popular and classic songs; with so many celebrities and musicians residing and working in The Big Apple, it can be easy to relate to this content when you come across it now that you’re a New Yorker yourself! But have you considered checking out novels that take place in New York City? I have always been a big reader—I even went to college for it (twice!) just so I could have an excuse to read all the time. For me, now that I can call myself a New Yorker, I reread some of my favorite books that takes place in NYC so I can find points of recognition. By doing this, it actually made me fall in love with these novels even more! I’ve rounded up some of my favorites so you can check them out yourself. And it goes without saying: reading is one of the most effective ways to learn and practice a language, so if you’re still perfecting your English skills, reading these books will not only make you feel closer to New York City, but you’ll get plenty of language practice in, too. So make yourself a cup of tea, get cozy, and get to reading!

 books in new york

  1. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

I’m starting this list off with this book because not only is it a literary classic, but this is one of my all-time favorites. This coming-of-age novel follows the narrator during his adolescence as he explores New York City and everything the city can offer for someone looking for authenticity and their own voice. While this book took place decades ago, it’s still rewarding to find parallels not only personally with the narrator, but with New York City. You might recognize some of the spots, and you will also see a glimpse into how the city used to be way back when.

  1. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is another novel that most high school English classes require students to read, but despite the fact it was a requirement, it’s still at the top of my favorites. While it’s a story of the haves and the have-nots, it’s also a story of self-acceptance and living by one’s own standards. In the 1920s, wealth played a big factor in human interaction, and this novel portrays that very relationship set in New York City—what better place to exemplify glitz and glitter?

  1. American Psycho – Bret Eason Ellis

If you’ve got a strong stomach for disturbing or violent content, you’ll love this novel. The story introduces the successful life of Patrick Bateman as a Wall Street professional with dark interests and habits. As he gallivants all over Manhattan, you’ll probably recognize certain neighborhoods and locations he frequents. Please keep in mind that some of this content is sensationalized, so approach with caution!

  1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

An easy read, this story depicts a young woman that seeks comfort at Tiffany’s—keeping up with appearances and feeling pressure to uphold a certain standard of life is all too familiar with all of us, so this one will be fun for you to consume on a rainy afternoon. As the main character journeys throughout the city, you might pick up on some of the demographic references, OR just make you want to stroll to Fifth Avenue for some shopping therapy!

  1. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness – Susannah Cahalan

While this publication is not a novel, it will tug your heartstrings with full force. The author of this memoir endured an incredible medical journey – one that helped raise awareness for so many unspoken for and silent victims. Her successful life in New York City was abruptly stopped short, she was constantly misdiagnosed, and she was quickly losing her spirit—I highly recommend checking this one out. I know of one life it saved, and you just never know if it might save another!

One of the best parts of living in New York City is recognizing your home on the screen or in print. These books will not only make you feel like you’re a part of the story, but you’ll become familiar with some of the best novels in American literature—and what better way to learn and practice your English skills?

Category : New York