Back in the concrete jungle that is New York City and I still can’t believe it! When the plane landed I started squealing internally and I wanted to do the happy dance ala Pee-wee Herman when he danced on the table.
The thing about NY is that I love the people watching. The people here seem larger than life, in the clothes they wear, the way a lot of them speak loudly and the way there are just so many of them. And I was reminded of that when we landed and walked out of the airport. What a welcoming!
When we arrived we caught a taxi to our apartment which is right near NYU. We were extremely lucky to find a place with an elevator and right next to an Italian restaurant. If you know me these are two important things to me: accessibility and good food.
Even though I was exhausted we took ourselves to the restaurant and sat outside. Nearly every person that walked by had a dog and were dressed smart casual. What I also noticed was that everyone was so friendly to each other and polite.
The next day we hit the road and went shopping but along the way to the shops we found a hairdresser and we wandered in so that I could have a week off from dealing with my crazy curls.
Hair salons are just the same here as they are in Melbourne except the people watching is better so I won’t bore you with any more hair details.
The afternoon was then spent at the MoMa where amount of art on display is overwhelming! Currently there is a photographic exhibition of Cindy Sherman’s work. Her photographs cover thirty years of her life and most are self portraits. She had a couple of sets of her dressed as different clowns and I couldn’t help but see a loneliness despite the cheerful costumes. We then had lunch on the fifth floor which had a view of a sculpture garden. MoMa is wheelchair accessible and there are enough rest spots scattered throughout the building. However there aren’t cheaper entrance fees for people with a disability.
After those few hours we ventured back to our “cozy” apartment before our dinner at Prime Grill – a fancy kosher steak house. The people varied in age but there was a noticeably large amount of young modern Jews. they were in their twenties dressed in suits and smart casual attire and the different groups seemed to know each other. One guy even finished his meal off with a cigar. I couldn’t help but feel I was living out a cut scene from The Social Network.
While in Israel only the breakfasts are huge, in New York all meals are huge and impossible to finish. We thought that we would start off with an entree and we each ordered some form of meat. Well, a new pattern had formed in Israel and once again I couldn’t finish my steak, fries and onion rings.
But that meal didn’t top the meal I had two nights later when I was taken by my neighbours who happened to be in NY at the same as us to see a baseball game where the Mets played the Cardinals. The stadium holds up to 30, 000 people and is situated in Queens. When we arrived at the stadium nearly two hours before the game was meant to start people were already there, wearing their baseball caps and sweatshirts and lining up for food.
Only in New York, at a baseball game, would you find a kosher food stand. And their pride and glory was the kinich. I am still trying to wrap my head around it but simply put, it’s mashed potatoes with some herbs wrapped in pastry and fried. That’s it. Fried mashed potatoes and the people here love them. I tried it and couldn’t finish it.
Throughout the game loud music was played and the fans sang along. Men carrying boxes of hotdogs, beer, pretzels and crackerjacks walked along the rows of seats. The game was long and hard for me to follow but the atmosphere was electric and I truly enjoyed myself.
To end off the week my friend took me to SoHo for lunch where I was introduced to waffles with fried chicken and maple syrup. I highly recommend it if you like sweet and savoury combined together. But surprisingly this wasn’t the highlight of my day. We then went to Chelsea where we visited the Highline, a man made park built on a historic fright rail line above the streets of Manhattan’s west side. We were able to see the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building.
People were lounging in benches, sitting on the grass, walking the twenty or so blocks or listening to live music from a couple of buskers. My friend and I people watched as we ate chocolates from Dean and Deluca. People in wheelchairs or using walkers are able to access the park via a number of lifts placed throughout the park. The Highline was a great escape from the mayhem down below and it gave me the space and time to reenergize for the next exciting week ahead!