A New Yorker’s guide to Athens

At once an unkempt, graffiti-covered concrete jungle and a sanctuary for stunningly preserved ancient treasures, Athens is a city of contradictions. Not unlike New York, its daunting commercial traps make it difficult for the newcomer to infiltrate (and signs written in another alphabet surely don’t help), but it takes just one perfect moment of stumbling upon an impossibly charming side street to realize the rewards of embarking on such a challenge.

Yes, a hike up the Acropolis to see the Parthenon is mandatory — the tribute to Athena has been watching over the city since 438 BC, and you too will feel god-like as you take in the views from above. But any true New Yorker will soon get the itch to leave the tourists behind and explore the land below, which, also like the city we call home, is made up of unique neighborhoods, serving up their own distinct personalities and flavors (all with a side of tzaziki, of course).

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