The sound of the NYPD pulsating down the avenues. The Chrysler Building gleaming in the sunlight. Smoke seeping up from the mysterious steam system underground. The flashing yellow cabs, all too busy to be hailed. The line to Shake Shack twisting and turning out of Madison Square Park. The blasting music from a ghetto blaster being the center of attention of a roller skating dance-off in Central Park. Spending a day leisurely at the beach, with the excitement and adrenalin of Coney Island behind me. The hipster-feel in Williamsburg, making me almost forget that I left Copenhagen.
….And so begins the adventures of Krissy in New York City!
You might ask why it has taken me this long to break the silence and begin documenting my exchange experience in this big city!? To be honest, it took me a while to adjust to the American way. Having left my heart in Asia, there was a big part of me questioning the infatuation that the world has taken to this city. As I wandered the streets, I kept thinking, is this really it? Is this what they call the greatest city on earth?
But now, two months into the whole experience, I don’t want to leave. It is hard to put my finger on why I’ve completely switched side, but the streets are literally pulling me in and locking me in a firm grip. I don’t know if it is the endless amount of events occurring in all corners of the city every day, or the great diversity traversing the streets, giving rise to great opportunities for people watching. I have eaten everything from shady looking doughnuts to beautiful and experimental Malaysian cuisine. I have soaked up Hong Kong memories in China town and pretended I belong in SoHo and Greenwich Village. If you get bored with one area of the city, you just transport yourself a few blocks north, south, east or west and you will dive head first into new escapades and aesthetic experiences.
Living in Upper West side has been an adventure in and of itself, having Central Park as my backyard, which has served as the spot for Sunday leisure times and morning runs (But ‘Great Hill’, I dislike you when my calves are tired). Entering this greenery space of bridges, lawns, alleys, lakes and other secrecies, serves as a much-needed escape when the grey concrete surrounding you, gets too firm of a grip. Also, I have had several encounters with longtime UWS-residents, all giving me tips and stories about the neighborhood. For instance, did you know that one of the most uncomfortable benches can be found near the entrance to Central Park at 103 street, near the pool ‘lake’, and if you look hard enough, you can see a bird carved out in the left hand side of the bench? Why am I disclosing this? Well, it turns out that it is the small things, which really make up the magic in this city. It is not the Empire building, it is not the shoe sale at Macy’s nor the Statue of Liberty – no, it is things like cute little coffee shops, the lady at my grocery store calling me ‘my sweet honey’ every time, the reflection of city lights in that huge puddle you are afraid to plunge into in rush hour – and the hidden, wood-carved birds on benches.
At Uni I am trying to figure out the conundrum that is American politics. Coming to the country with a baggage full of average knowledge, I am time and again confounded, surprised, enraged, enthralled, hopeful and excited about the topics of my classes. Also, I’ve quickly discovered that NYC isn’t America. The values, the attitudes and the visions differ from the rest of the country, and I am soaking in all of the diverse opinions. But folks, Uni is no joke! I thought I would be able to divide up my time more evenly between being adventurous and still hand in all the assignments on time. Doing my very best though, to shut it down when need be, and leave the library for the concrete streets.
To give a glimpse into a few of my highlights over the summer, I give a short account here:
- Enjoying a mild summer night at MoMa PS1, turning wild when Skrillex played a tune or two
- Brunch-ing at Tom’s in Brooklyn – I mean, blueberry pancakes, what’s not to love?
- Watching a basket ball game at Barclay’s Center, always a highlight when the dinner conversations at home always have been centered around this sport (thanks, bro)
- Fashion week giving me the opportunity to stalk all of my bloggers
- Helping out at a charity event and meet some “real New Yorkers”
- Walking over Brooklyn Bridge (several times) and taking the elevator to the Top of the Rock, literally made by heart jump from excitement – I become a little school girls who thought she saw Justin Bieber
- The Highline – only the best urban, public space idea since the dawn of humanity. I do not think I can get enough of it, and as the season is now changing, so is every stretch of this old railroad track.
- Jazz nights and modern ballet at Lincoln Center
- Having already had 3 visitors – yes, this is what happens when you live in a popular destination. Everyone wants to come visit!
- Having a gin and tonic at the Wythe hotel, overlooking Manhattan skyline
- Meeting amazing people <3
I have basically saved most of the museum shenanigans for rainy and snowy days, and have instead tried to utilize the warm weather and blue skies as much as possible. Guggenheim, American Natural History Museum and Brooklyn Museum are, however, crossed off the list and I cannot wait to soak in the art and the culture that the city offers this autumn/winter.
I will go back into silence for now, but promise to be better at providing shorter, but more regular posts to try to give a glimpse into what this city has to offer.
Keep an eye out for my Halloween post, and who knows – maybe Gideon already visited me, and have the 101 info on this years Comic Con!