Posts filed under Life in New York

If I Can Make it Here I Can Make It Anywhere

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Noise is always loud, there are sirens all around and the streets are mean
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere that’s what they say
Seeing my face in lights or my name in marquees found down on Broadway

Even if it ain’t all it seems
I got a pocketful of dreams baby I’m from New York!
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York!
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York, New York, New Yooork!
— Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind

Wednesday Thoughts

New York

The City and the State

Those of you who know me well would probably not have guessed that the next place we would move to would be NYC. But then those opportunities on the east coast rather than the west coast came and here we are. We are not the big city people, even though I am from the fairly big city of Stockholm. New York is the name of both the city and the state, and I bet that some people sometimes forgot about the rest of this state when they think about New York. During these past months we have gone through mice in the apartment, broken pipes and firemen in our apartment at 1 am in the morning. Even though all of these things happened within 2 months, I feel as if we lived here an eternity already. We live in the north east part of Manhattan, the area that is known as East Harlem, or El Barrio. Most tourists don’t go up here, because all the touristy stuff is mostly centered around southern Manhattan. I do think that every tourist should explore the northern part of Manhattan as well, just to get an idea about the life in New York (well I guess you could insert any of the least “famous” parts of NYC here).

Life is not always easy in the city, and nor has it really ever been since 1650 or so when New Amsterdam existed where Battery Park is today (even though Manhatta, yes Manhatta without a n, existed long before then). You only need to live here for a short time while listening to the local NPR station (WNYC) to understand who the losers and the winners are here. The everlasting question is whose fault it is? You’ll hear horror stories about walls and ceilings falling into apartments, mold, broken doors, lack of heat, and legionella in the water towers mixed in with outrageous rents. But New York is of course so much more than that, and there is always a whole suit of cultures and backgrounds wherever you look. Discovering all of these different places in New York, not only Manhattan, will take time, and that fits us pretty well right now since we will be here for a few years. We are not made out of money and I have started a quest for cheap and free things to do in the city. There are many many things you can do of course, and I will probably write more about our life here and what we do, favorite bars, parks, streets yeah just about anything. New York City is huge and many times people forget about the state New York. We want to try and discover more parts of the state while we are here too, not just the big city.

Things to Do on a Friday in New York

A Friday Evening in March

The weeks are passing alarmingly fast now and we are slowly approaching spring. These past few day, or rather weeks have been cold, well, relatively cold. At Christmas we got a gift card to a famous restaurant called Momofuku. We have been cooking recipes from their cookbook for a few years now, so it seemed suiting to actually go there now that we live in New York. We were celebrating something else this day and decided to finally use the gift card. We left the apartment just before 5, even though we planned to leave at 4, I guess that is how it goes nowadays. Riding the subway on a Friday during rush hour is always interesting, and can probably seem like a nightmare. You get packed into the subway carts amongst a thousand other people who are switching places for the evening, but it is also a perfect time for people watching if you are into that. During our slow (even though we were on the express line) ride three interesting groups of people went through the subway cart. On the ride to the first stop we had three people entertaining us, one person was playing a guitar, another one singing and a third rapping a beautiful tune. Quite impressive though to play guitar and ride the subway at the same time. When they left a thin woman wearing a poster hanging on her front and back entered our subway cart. W had seen her riding a bike a few days before, banging on car windows and yelling her message. She was praising veganism and thought that everyone should become vegan. When she left a man came in and wanted to sell postcard photos, he had a funny way of presenting his art. It was unclear if it actually was his art or not, since there was no information about the art or him on the actual cards.

We finally got off at 14th street and East Village. If you are looking for dive bars there seem to be quite a few around east village. We are not made of money and while it’s probably super awesome to grab a cocktail or two while you are in NYC you probably already spend 20 dollars before you even found a place to eat. You’ll probably spend close to that amount in other cities too, but NYC rents are out of this world so we hang on tight to every lite penny we have above that :) Many places do have really great Happy Hour deals, which is a life saver for you wallet. Most of the time you can find their happy hour specials on their websites or by reading peoples comments on google maps. We walked down towards 7th street to get to a dive bar W had looked up earlier, Blue & Gold Tavern. I was surprised by how few people were there, but I liked the vibe. It had a pool table, a jukebox and a friendly vibe, and a pretty decent Happy Hour. Seems like a lot of the locals go to this bar. After that we went to Momofuku which is located between 10th and 11th street on 1st Avenue. We thought the wait would be long but it turned out that they get people in and out pretty quick here. A tip is to make sure that people who are standing in line are actually standing in line. You have to put your name on the list to get a table, but there isn’t that much space to stand, other than the line, after that. We got a tiger beer while waiting and before long we were seated by the bar right by the kitchen. I love seats where you are able to see what all the people in the kitchen are doing. We ordered the pork buns, chicken wings and the pork Ramen. So tasty, just like we expected :) Our plan was to continue the night but we went to one other bar and realized that we were both so full after dinner and decided to call it a night. We were home before 10, I guess we are getting old.

A Saturday in New York

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Being a New York Resident

One of the best things about living in New York is that you can do everything at your own pace. No stress. Therefore we are slowly going through all the different gems we have heard off, but are also trying to find new once too of course. After waking up fairly late and after having massive amounts of coffee and late breakfast we decided to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As a New York resident you pay as you wish to visit many museums. There are also a lot of other ways to get in for free or for a small fee to a few museums, some of them have free entrance during certain hours of the day and so on. To prove that you are a New York resident at Metropolitan Museum of Arts you can either show them you New York ID or License, or your Library card, or a current bill or statement with a New York State address. Yes you heard right, you can show your Library card. To get a library card in New York City you have to bring a statement or letter addressed to you with your New York address. Once you have a New York library card you can access your culture pass, which can give you free entrance for up to 4 people to a lot of different museums across New York City. You can only reserve two different museums at a time, and you can also only reserve some museums once per year. We utilized this when my dad came to visit over Christmas and new year.

Metropolitan Museum of Arts

As we waited for the subway I watched a rat run towards a huge piece of bread down on the tracks, and then a second larger rat appeared and the fight was one. I am not sure which one of those rats won, but I think the fight was still on as our train arrived. The Metropolitan Museum of Arts opens at 10 am, but we didn’t get there until about noon. There are two admission desks when you enter, as well as two coat hanger rooms. You can also pay your admission by using one of the many screen stations they provide. As a New York resident though you have to stand in line. After we checked our coats we grabbed a map and planned our afternoon. We decided to start with the Egypt section, and then continue into the American Wing and then Arms and Armor. This is kist a tiny part of the whole museum which is 3 floors.

The Spectacular Find

The Egypts are one of many spectacular people that have always amazed me, along with the Mayan, Incan and Aztec. We used to hav a large book at home that talked about everything these different people had created. But I was still amazed when I saw these small sculptures of the Egypts and their life, as you can see above and below. In 1920 a new room at one of the mountain cliffs was discovered. We are talking about 1975 B.C here. I find it incredible. All of the figure were made of imported coniferous wood. Then we continued through the rooms and awed at all of these stone sculptures.

You could also see huge collections of stones and jewelry, but below is my favorite. It is a golden piece with delicate animal heads surrounding it. We glanced through the American Wing, most of what was there we have seen in Alaska and Montana, and we started to get a bit tired. We did walk through the Arms and Armor, and the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts though before we headed out, after abut 3 hrs.

Dive bar and Food

The Metropolitan Museum of Arts is on the East side of Central Park, and we walked through the park to get to the west side. The New York subway system is set up so it’s easy to go north and south of Manhattan, but to go east to west you either have to catch a bus, or walk. Once you are down below Central Park it gets easier to get a subway east to west. After a quick walk through the park we got to the west side and eventually the Dive bar, which I first thought was just a dive bar, but the bar name was literally Dive Bar. We had a couple of beers there before we walked south and towards an indian BYOB restaurant called Alachi Masala. We weren’t too impressed by the food, but it was still good.

Central Park

One of my New Years resolutions, well my only I should say, is to walk through Central Park at least once per week, for my own sanity. Two weeks ago we took a walk through the most northern end of Central Park to the most southern end. We live about 10-15 minutes from the northern end so pretty close to the park. I love all the small trails you can follow in the park. In the northern end of the park you can access the Loch, and in the more southern part the Ramble. Before you get to the Ramble you can walk by the Swedish Cottage, a model school house built in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Another favorite location is the Bethesda Terrace. The Bethesda Terrace, a vision created by Olmsted and Vaux, took about 10 years to complete, and it was done in 1868. There are plenty of statues in Central Park. Balto, one of the Siberian huskies who helped bring the serum for the diphtheria outbreak to Nome. The statue was erected 10 months after Balto and the other dogs completed the run in 1925. Another one is Alice in Wonderland which is close to HC Andersen and the ugly Duckling. You can explore all the sculptures and monuments in the park here.

Do you have a favorite section in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts or in Central Park?