If you want to know New York, get to know its street cuisine. I learned it early. Growing up in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, I would get a lunch of two hot dogs in steam-soft rolls from the guy who set up his stainless-steel pushcart on the corner of 17th Street every morning, rain or shine, Saturdays and holidays, summer-fall-winter-spring.
There are few things more American than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. There is a reason magicians don't reveal their tricks. Going behind the scenes and seeing how the parade is created ended up not in any way spoiling the magic. Instead, it gave me a greater appreciation for the work that goes into it.