I've been there once, early in March 1992 -- a time it snowed, and I got to see New York snow when it was still pretty! -- for a high school journalism seminar. We also did touristy things: one of my favorites was seeing the dinner theater show Forever Plaid. I'm not a big Broadway-show person, but I also saw The Secret Garden; didn't quite follow it, but I liked Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon's music.* I also had my first French Onion soup and my first bagel while visiting New York. We stayed midtown -- a Day's Inn, if I remember correctly, but even a Day's Inn can have a spectacular view in Manhattan -- and visited Columbia University, Battery Park, FAO Schwartz, one of the Tower Records locations (I miss Tower) and tourist-friendly docks along the East River. We were pretty well chaperoned, so I didn't go too far afield: no bus or subway trips, and definitely nothing seedy. The most off-book thing I did was go into a news stand (I'd already been a media geek for years) and notice the porn magazine covers; I remember one called Double-E Girls. *grins*
That was three days in the everything-just-more-so borders of Manhattan -- "where else can you do a half-a-million things...all at a quarter to 3?" -- and I loved it. I wouldn't live in New York, but I could totally do a visit again. Helpfully, family and friends live there: a cousin's near Times Square (though Jeff probably wouldn't have room for a guest), and I know people in several boroughs plus my good friend bonnie_rocks is on Long Island.
And it's the people that are drawing me to New York again. I really do appreciate New York/New Jersey brash smartasses. I know a lot of them. I respond to that brashness. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if, while visiting, I fell for a New Yorker. Also, right now I'm reading Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman (suricattus), because I wanted something lighter and quicker after finishing Moby-Dick, and Gilman knows from brash New Yorkers, even in her urban fantasy/mystery novel about the magic equivalent of a CSI team. (Gilman also knows from good food; she makes sure to have her characters eat well.) The book's reminding me: I like this.
So New York's joined Boston, New Orleans, Northern Virginia, Chicago, and places I haven't thought of yet as Places I Must Visit, Dammit.
* Three years before, my brother T.J. went to the same seminar. Their Broadway show was Les Miserables. T.J. was exhausted and fell asleep. He woke up to a full stage with people waving a giant French flag. Actual exchange between him and a friend: "What's happening?" "The French Revolution."