My Favourite Places in NYC According to Google

June 07, 2020

I have a love-hate relationship with Google.

Love--because they have massively changed travel for the better. Everything is now made more efficient when you know which transport to take on what time, which direction to go to, which places are rated better. I never travel without my Google Maps and Google Trips. Hate--because Google has the habit of acquiring smaller but great apps, putting them into their umbrella of apps, and then letting their bigger, same niche function app cannibalise on the smaller apps. I am still very salty about what they did to Inbox.

One of the nifty features of Google Maps--depending on how you see it, because some don't like the privacy implications--is the ability to let Google remember where you went to. And from that data, they will give give you a Year In Review a la Spotify's, but with places instead of songs played.

Not sure if they were just being funny, but today they sent me a "recap" of my favourite places in New York City so far. Are you ready?

No. 1 - Fifth Avenue 

I frequently go to Fifth Avenue because of Madison Square Park. I get to sit on a bench and just stare at the trees. Right now, the dog park inside MSP is closed, but back in pre-pandemic days, I would often play conversations in my head where I try and ask a dog parent to let me take their dog inside the dog park so "they can rest." I never got to do it, but I'm hopeful it will happen someday.

Fifth Avenue is also where I pickup my Citibike. I have been frequently using this service now, which deserves its own post. It's such a great way to see the city.

When I go to Home Depot and my clinic, I also walk along Fifth Avenue.

No. 2 - Whole Foods Market

Now this is what I meant by Google being funny. Yes, my social life is very restricted right now and Whole Foods is as happening as it gets. I shop once or twice in two weeks, and most of the volunteer work I do request me to shop at Whole Foods.

To readers who don't follow me on my Instagram: I volunteer with the non-profit organisation called Invisible Hands, which aims to help the elderly and immunocompromised with their grocery shopping needs in this difficult time.

When I moved here, I didn't really shop at Whole Foods because there is a nearer supermarket to my apartment. But since my volunteer work, I realised how the 80-yr old women I have shopped for all look so amazing and seemingly strong. My hypothesis was it must be their diet and because they mostly eat organic. This prompted me to quickly change my ways. The biggest factor was that it wasn't that much more expensive than my non-Whole Foods grocery list.

No. 3 - Fairway Market Chelsea

And this brings me to number three and last on this list--the supermarket that's closer to my apartment, the Fairway Market in Chelsea. I live so close, it's not fun. To those who are looking for an apartment in the city, please, please do yourself a favour and don't live next to a supermarket. One thing I didn't think through while apartment-hunting was looking at the nearby establishments. You will not believe the amount of delivery trucks that come by and deliver all throughout the day. It gets hard to sleep but I have learned to cope, often with my noise-cancelling headphones.

All the noise annoyance aside, Fairway is conveniently located to me and they do have amazing selection. I now limit my groceries here, especially fresh produce because I learned the vegetables I get here would go off rather quickly than the ones I get at Whole Foods. But because it's so close, I still get my quick staples here like milk, juice, fruits, olives, pantry items, and other kitchen must-haves like aluminium foil etc.

There you go, the three most visited places from my Google Timeline in May 2020. If you're wondering why both markets are boarded up in my photos, and if that is usual: It's not usual. Most establishments in New York City have now been boarded up due to the rioting that's been happening. Lots of smaller businesses have been ransacked and some bigger shops that were not boarded up soon enough, like Macy's on 34th St, got emptied out. It's really an interesting time to be in this city right now. Had the pandemic not happen, this probably won't be my Top 3 Places. Or not.

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