New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

As we’re inching closer to spring and warmer weather, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably ready to start spending more time outside. All winters are rough, no matter how mild or brutal the weather conditions are, but this past winter was probably the most difficult that we’ve experienced in a while. While strict orders to continue quarantining stayed in place over the cold months, our lack of outdoor excursions decreased significantly. My daily walks stopped just because it was too cold outside – I didn’t think it was worth it. The daylight was so short-lived, and I felt defeated when it was pitch dark by 4 pm. Even the holidays were tricky since travel was strongly discouraged. So this spring feels even more of a rebirth than any other spring in the past. I expect the city to pop open with excitement and eagerness, full of excited New Yorkers. We must continue to practice safety while the vaccination process is still in motion, but as long as you maintain caution, you can still have fun this April in New York City – while having plenty of opportunity to keep your English skills active and sharp.

Here are just a few ideas to keep in the back of your head as you’re packing your winter clothes and pulling out your sunnies.

  • Book a helicopter tour

So this is actually something on my own list, as I have yet to experience this myself! Sometimes, I’ve found that it’s kind of easy to forget that we live in New York City – we get so engrained in our day-to-day, especially for those of us that are working from home, that it can easily slip our minds. It isn’t until I venture out of my neighborhood that I’m snapped back into reality that I get to live in this amazing city, and that’s why I’m so interested in booking this tour! You’ll be able to see parts of the city that you know well from a view that will amaze you – and because it’s narrated and guided, you’ll be able to keep your English skills sharp as you whiz by some of the most iconic scenes and locations of the Big Apple. Grab your friends, and be sure to make a day of it!

  • Hit the Chelsea Market food tour

April can still be an unpredictable month – some days might be warm and sunny, while others might be damp and cold. If you need something to do on one of those “April showers” days this month, be sure to consider the Chelsea Market. Either roam around on your own, or book a special tour that will take you to some of the best hidden gems with tons of back stories along the way. You’ll eat your way through while burning calories, so it’s a great activity for the full day! And since you’ll be guided the whole time, you’ll be able to practice your English listening and speaking skills as you go. What better way to keep practicing?

  • Visit the High Line

And on those nice and warm days in April, you’ll definitely want to be outdoors, soaking up that Vitamin D we’re all craving. Central Park and other parks in the city tend to be very popular the first couple of weeks of spring from my experience, so if you’re looking for less people, the High Line might be a nice option. There’s plenty of walking trails, scenery, and sights. If you’re with your friends (don’t forget your masks!), be sure to take note of everywhere you’re going so you won’t miss a beat or thing to see. There’s so much there, and it’s beautiful in the beginning spring, so wear your comfy shoes and try your best to engage with new people (from a safe six feet!) so you can practice your English while you’re there!

I want to reiterate that even though April starts to show signs of nice weather, you should continue to practice distanced socializing and be mindful of your mask-wearing and how often you’re using hand sanitizer. We might be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, so let’s not mess it up now! While there’s always plenty to do in New York City, pandemic or not, it’s still always imperative to be mindful of others and stay safe. As vaccinations continue to be distributed, we should all continue to follow protocol to protect ourselves as well as our loved ones.

Category : Stay in New York

By now, we’ve all grown accustomed to the new way of life of living in a pandemic. Masks have become a natural part of our going-out attire, we’re used to social distancing, and we’ve gotten creative with our time spent at home. While it still doesn’t feel normal, it’s a normal that we’ve been forced to adjust to. While it may be awhile until we’re completely back to any kind of normalcy that we were used to pre-pandemic, there are still ways that you can introduce new things into your life while you’re in New York City.

New York City is one of those rare places that despite change, it will always be the same. Because of the high rates of positive cases in the city, many residents flocked to other states to escape it – for those of us that stayed, you may feel that it feels lighter. I actually kind of like that there’s less people – it makes me feel like I’m surrounded by the authentic New Yorkers. These are the people that are the most resilient, the ones that will stay no matter the circumstances. Because of this lighter population, it’s never been easier to social distance and experience sites that have may previously been overcrowded because of tourists. I definitely feel like I’ve been able to experience highly trafficked areas easier because of this, which has inspired me to spend more time in these spots as a result. And if you’re looking to continue your English practice as you go, these experiences will certainly allow you to do so in real-time so you won’t feel rusty or out of practice.

  1. Empire State Building visit

This is crazy to admit, but I have yet to visit the top of the Empire State Building, and I’ve been living here for almost six years now! The issue is that it’s a huge tourist hot-spot, and it’s always convinced me to stay away. Because tourism in the city is down, this is a great time to check it out! The operators are very diligent about social distancing, cleaning protocols, and reduced capacity. Call ahead to make a reservation, and be mindful about who you invite to come with you for the day. While the operators are practicing social distancing, you also want to make sure that your company is safe and has tested negative as well. With tons of signage and voiceover regarding the building and its history, you’ll be practicing your reading and listening English skills, so also try to engage with others (safely!) so you can stay sharp on your English-speaking skills as well!

2. Statue of Liberty

This is obviously another Big Apple staple, but you’d also be surprised at how many long-term residents have not made the visit to see the statue in person – and I’m one of them! While the inside tour is not active because of the pandemic, you should still take advantage of the lower tourist rate and make your way there! With strict social distancing rules and cleaning protocols, you’ll feel safe in your journey to see the timeless view. Similar to the Empire State Building, the written and audio English throughout the tour will keep your English skills sharp and active.

3. 9/11 Memorial Museum

This is a must for any New Yorker. This day in history impacted everyone all over the world, and this memorial and museum honors those that lost their lives on that day. I went once, and I’ve wanted to go back again ever since. Be prepared to get emotional, as the storytelling as you make your way through will remind you of the impact and fear that struck all of us. Thanks to social distancing and rigorous cleaning measures, you’ll feel safe as long as you wear your mask and remain attentive. Because of lower tourist numbers, you’ll be able to take your time throughout the museum, so take advantage. There is a ton of written and audio throughout the experience, so you’ll be able to activate your English skills while there for the day.

Being a New Yorker this past year has been a badge of pride and honor, and because I’ve stayed, I’ve never felt more of a New Yorker. If you’re like me, I recommend taking advantage of these destinations while tourism is as low as it is so you can experience what everyone else that comes to our great city gets to!

Category : Stay in New York