After a few years of not visiting – and an eternity without doing it in summer – my work took me last month back to this unique, crazy, cosmopolitan megalopolis: New York! As is usually the case, travelling there for work meant very little time left for personal exploring. And as is also usually the case, I found the way to make the most out of my brief stay!
Now, NYC being such a complex place, and my touristing being so haphazard, I had to arrange my posts in rather strange categories. So here you have, for example, "the city":
- Space is extremely expensive, but I managed to secure an Airbnb I could actually afford and not far from the UN, where I had meetings. It was so NYC-style! Which means it was incredibly tiny. And you reached it via a narrow and dark flight of stairs that was barely wide enough for one person. And the door had three very stubborn locks. And my kitchen window faced, what else, another building right in front. A very curious experience...
- World-famous steaks anyone? We had a work meeting at Smith and Wollensky. I was ready to order a salad, or maybe oysters, when I asked a colleague of mine – who had lived in NYC many years – if this would be the one place in all of New York City to try steak. He assured me this would be THE place if I was going to give it the one try. And unsurprisingly, the one steak he suggested ordering was the New York Steak. Funny and absolutely useless fact? This is the steak Miranda orders in The Devil Wears Prada.
Very nice resturant. Loved being able to see the kitchen through the window right behind our table. Really good steak. So glad I didn´t have to foot the bill.
- Subway. Who could forget to take a picture of the underground beast? Which I used extensively, by the way. And then a friend of mine explained to me the logic behind the colours and routes, and then it all made sense! I've forgotten most of it by now, I'm afraid. But it was fun to finally have a grasp of the system and make use of it.
- Architecture. There's no two ways about it – the city was and is extremely wealthy, it was also adventurous, and you can see that in the architecture. This is the second city with the most skyscrapers in the world (Hong Kong is number one), and wandering this steel, concrete and glass über-tall jungle is a cultural experience in and of itself. Definitely one of NYC's highlights.
- For a second, I wasn't sure why I had this coffee here, LOL. But then I remembered: New York City – the place where everybody makes it to eventually! During my stay I met with one friend from my second time in Beijing (2005-2009), and who was on a stopover on his way to Toronto. And I also met another friend from my first time in Beijing (1997-1999), who was living in New Jersey but who made an impromptu visit to NYC before moving away to Berlin! Talk about timing! And this is the espresso I had with her. Crazy place, crazy lucky encounters!
- I also made sure I tried stuff that is a bit harded to find at home, like oysters and a pint of draft Guinness! I had oysters from the east coast, oysters from the west coast... delicious! And blue diamond oysters displaced kumamoto oysters as my favourite. So flavourful!
And to add to the unvegan sinning, I couldn't help having a corned beef bagel (with a big, delicious pickle!) at Zuckers, a Jewish institution. That was on my last day in NYC, and I enjoyed it so much.
- Super fancy ice-cream: There's this market at Grand Central Station. Really nice, delicious-looking stuff. With matching prices, of course. But in my last morning in NYC, which had this really hot summer weather, I went for what could be one of the best lemon sherbets I've ever had. Or maybe it was the heat. But still, it was incredibly good.
- The views from above. When leaving NYC, I was lucky to have some nice views of manhattan and, later on, of a gorgeous sunset. I guess these two shouldn't really be in this post, but "the city" is sort of a catch-all category, right? So some leniency here for me, ok?
It was a short, intense, fun trip. I really enjoyed it, both work-wise and travel-wise, and some 2-3 more posts will follow. Probably written as badly as this one, because I'm terribly busy these days. But gotta finish writing about NYC, 'cause then I can begin writing about our anniversary trip to Peru!