New York - First Impressions

New York City Life

    We have now lived in New York for more than one month, and actually spent a couple of weeks here together. It was kind of a whirlwind before we were able to actually settle down here. I worked almost up until the actual move, we then packed our pod, packed the car (read tried to fit everything else in the car), and cleaned the apartment in Madison before we eventually left. Once we arrived about a day later, we unpacked the car, and cleaned the new apartment, and then went to bed. It turned out that driving in New York City, as in driving in Manhattan, wasn't so hard after all (although, W drove, I didn't so what do I know). It was a lot harder to find a parking spot. We spent one full day in New York together, going to Target and Costco, and then at 8 in the morning the day after, I was sitting on a plane to Nome, Alaska. Once I got back W had already left to Boston, and then to Alaska. So, we really didn't even live together in the apartment up until now, these past two weeks!


    You can constantly hear the sirens from ambulances, firetrucks and police cars mixed in with people honking, but they do quiet down during nighttime. Many New Yorkers are intense and very forceful. Kind of as if they forgot that there are good humans out there in the world. People are yelling at each other in the streets, in the grocery stores, yeah about everywhere. I wonder if there is such a thing as a happy New Yorker sometimes. The two first strangers in New York I met was on my way to Alaska. First the driver to the airport, who said he hated New York and New Yorkers, how he didn't think it was diverse enough. On the plane between New York and Seattle the woman I sat next to was moving back to Seattle, leaving her husband (although not leaving leaving, just saying he can come if he wants but I am not staying) behind in New York. She said she hated New York and New Yorkers, said she was sorry for me who just moved there. 

East Harlem aka El Barrio, Spanish Harlem

    We live in East Harlem, or Spanish Harlem which it is also called along with El Barrio. East Harlem has a large population of Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics. Back in the day, 1800's and beginning of 1900's East Harlem was mostly an Italian neighborhood, and today has one of the most exclusive restaurants in the US, an Italian restaurant called Rao's. The closest we have gotten to Rao's, well except walking by the restaurant, was when we purchased their famous tomato sauce at our local grocery store. As you can imagine there is a wide range of cultures that are merging in East Harlem, and with that a wide range of interesting restaurants that we have to explore. We have a really nice apartment with a guest room and actually two bathrooms (well the technical term is one and a half). We live very close to the subway and it takes about 20 minutes for us to get to Brooklyn bridge with the subway. We have of course spent many many days in the apartment, but we have also been exploring the neighborhood some. Every day has been hot, well hot to me. We have had temperatures in the 80's and 90's ever since we moved in, and our AC units have been running a lot these past weeks. Now the temperature is finally dropping and we can actually leave the windows open to create a nice breeze through the apartment.

Central Park and community gardens

    During the weekends we have been doing chores around the house and then gone to central park to relax. Central Park is actually a National Historic Landmark and has been put on a tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This past weekend we went there and had a picnic in the afternoon sun. Central Park is my favorite part of Manhattan, of course who would have thought? Northern Central Park gets less touristy compared to southern Central Park (not too suprisingly). Other than Central Park there are a lot of other parks in Manhattan of course, and a ton of small community gardens that are run by the neighborhood communities and NYC parks. It is called Green Thumb and is the largest community gardening program in the US. The community gardens are run by residents in the area, and anyone can join a community garden. Of course, these gardens aren't open at all times, since they are run by the community, but you are mostly free to enter and look around if you happen to come across a garden that is open. We have one right by our apartment, which I will try to join!