Here is something that is not unique to New York, and you can look for where you live. Bell Telephone used to put bell-shaped metal tags on every telephone pole in the country. While most are long gone you can still find many of them on telephone poles all over the US. This one in Levittown has NYT stamped on it, for New York Telephone.
"A favorite oddball card from the 1950s." I don't have any 1950s oddballs, and don't really know much about the cards from that time period. I looked around the Trading Card Database for a while and found this nice looking set from Dan Dee Potato Chips. Dan Dee was a pretzel and potato chip company in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York from the 1910s to the 1980s.
Two US presidents were born in New York City. The first was Theodore Roosevelt, who was born at 28 E. 20th Street in 1858. The house was torn down in 1916 but upon Roosevelt's death in 1919 it was rebuilt and remains today as a museum.
Donald Trump was born at Jamaica Hospital, just north of the LIRR tracks, in 1946. You may be able to see the words "Trump Pavilion" on the closest hospital building. It is named after Mary Trump, the President's mother, who made a large charitable contribution to the hospital in 1975.
card of a common player that always seemed to elude you." The first set I ever collected was 1987 Topps; both 1987 and 1988 Topps were the cards I had by far the most of when I was a kid. Later as an adult they were the first two sets I completed, in 2007. Gary Gaetti was one of the last cards I need for both sets. I was probably 775 cards into both of them before I got Gaetti for either one.
card of a rookie you thought you were 'investing' in." I never really collected cards thinking I would sell them, so this doesn't particularly apply to me. However, as a kid I did keep some of my better duplicate cards in plastic, thinking I might sell them or trade for something good, so I should keep them in good condition. I don't remember all of the cards (none of them were particularly good by modern standards) - pretty sure one was the Juan Gonzalez Topps rookie.
Here's another Bell Telephone sign still visible in New York. Architect Ralph Walker is considered the "father of the modern telephone building" and designed several telephone buildings in New York, including one he called the Stella Tower after his wife. Though it was converted to luxury apartments many years ago, there is still a Bell Telephone sign on a back entrance.
favorite parallel card based on the parallel, not the player." I definitely have to go with the sparkly Summit variations - they look absolutely beautiful in person, probably the most sparkly cards I've seen.
Al had a guy looking for some Griffeys, so he asked me for one of every Griffey I had. That came out to 26 cards, so I traded them for 26 cards out of his binder. It can be hard to tell if I have a card or not, so I went with mostly parallels as they were more likely cards that I needed.
No Yankees in the binder, but I like the Cardinals so I certainly gravitated to this refractor.
Two different gold parallels from 2008 Topps. One has gold lettering, the other a gold border.
I had a feeling normal 1998 Upper Deck cards didn't have gold lettering and i was right - it's from a parallel set called "Special F/X" which was new to me. The other variation is the foil background.