The whole story ...
Trip Start Sep 30, 2009
1Trip End Oct 14, 2009
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Where I stayed
YH's apartment located in mid-town east
Unlike most times when I wrote about the trip on the fly or soon after I had gotten back home ... 3 months have passed since. So I ain't gonna be as detailed about it for a start and I'd summarise the trip in to a few broad categories to talk about.
You can't beat this city when it comes to the arts ... it has everything ... world class. 3 main memories here that I'd carry for life ...
First was at the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art). I was there on my first saturday there. I reached the Met at about 3-4pm, as I had drinks with Kiren the night before, or morning actually, till 6am. (we had one of those long-ass catch up sessions that we do once in a few years, on the rooftop of their apartment with a great view of Manhattan ... cold winds, whiskey, old friend ... can't ask for more.) Anyway, back to the Met. Fortunately it was opened till 9pm that day. And when I stepped in, I saw big posters saying that Itshak Perlman was playing with the Alumni of the Perlman Music Programme. Wanted to get tickets but they were sold out. The lady at the counter was nice enough to tell me, though, to come back 15mins before the concert was due to begin and check if there were uncollected tickets for sale. I went about the museum then, and came back to the box office and true enough, a ticket became available ... woohoo!! So I got to listen to them play Brahms’s String Sextet No. 1, Shostakovich’s Two Pieces for Double String Quartet, and the highlight was Vivaldi's Autumn and Winter from the Four Seaons where before each, he read the peoms that Vivaldi had written as preludes to each movement, suggesting that perhaps the composer should have stuck to his day job. :-) It was hilarious. That aside, the music was simply fantastic. It was a very unexpected treat indeed. Went away very happy that night. New Yorkers are a lucky bunch, though a lot might not know it ..
Second, was at Carnegie. Had booked the ticket before I came up to attend the concert by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with YH. Had originally also wanted to also attend the Boston Symphony's season openner featuring James Levine and Evgeny Kissin, but decided on it too late and tickets were sold out. But I got to go to Carnegie anyway, and took a couple of minutes to feel the carpets and kiss the railings, to the amusement of YH, before being wowed by the orchestra and Henning Keggarud's performance of Beethoven's Violin Concerto. :-)
Third, was attending Le Nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera. Now for this, we had to dress up big time ... YH in a beautiul and formal black number and me all suite up for the occasion. It's opera, after all ... :-) I don't get to go to opera performances much, so this was something to savour, especially at the Met Opera, one of the world's finest. The performance was definitely not a let down and I was particularly impressed with Danielle di Niese, who sang + acted the title role of Susanna very very well indeed. :-)
Then there was Susan Enan's CD launch at The Living Room which we attended. I became a fan overnight. :-)
Before I came up, YH has asked me if I was willing to splurge a bit more on food, because as much as some of these meals might be expensive, they are way better than what we can get back here, if at all ..
The noteworthy ones were Sushi of Gari (my gosh!!!) and WD50's molecular gastromy. Some of the finest stuff I've ever had in my life ... oh boy ... :-)
There were other little bits that were nice too, like the Pho we had after the concert at Carnegie, the gyros that I simply grab as I exit the station on 54th on Lex, the hole-in-the-wall Jap Hot Pot that YH took me to on my first day, Tal Bagels, the set lunches with Kiren and YH ... food, whether cheap or expensive, are all good in NY.
Many things to see in New York. Metropolitan Museum of New York itself requires a day. The Guggenheim, Whitney, International Centre for Photography (for photography buffs), Top of the Rock for that wonderful bird's eye view of the city. There's the Brooklyn Bridge, and there's Central Park, where there's so many nooks and crannies to explore, it'll take a few good days ..
Didn't go to Liberty Island though, cos the queue for the ferry was a total put-off. Took the cheaper (ok, free) alternative of taking the Staten Island Ferry to and fro, with a good view of the Lynx/Rexona icon to view, and some decent pictures with a 70-300mm zoom ... those on the island could not get up into the statue anyway, something which they've enforced since Sep 11.
The subway itself was a sight. Derelict as it may be, there're many ways to see a picture in it all. There's a picture everywhere ... including fire escapes. :-)
Now here though, I'm gonna write about an unpleasant experience. And it did not come from being a tourist in the country and being looked down upon as a yellow skin, for instance
Well, back to the objective part of my story. It's like the centre of the world, New York. There's no lack of things to see, do, shop and enjoy as a whole. And its still the financial centre of the world ... for how long more remains to be seen. I get the vibe that as a visitor, its alright to spend a couple of weeks here, be it on business or pleasure. I'm not sure if I wanna live in New York, though, and if I did, whether I would enjoy it. Would I become more impatient and even more cosmopolitant and city-like than I am now? I already don't like myself or what my city has made me into very much. But I can understand the attractions of living and working in a place like New York. Its way better than Singapore. It's Singapore on steroids (now that's a scarry thought) and every bit more culturally diverse as Singapore ... think of our influx of foreign workers (think Chinese from China) and their equivalent in the Hispanics and you get what I mean. Its interesting though, with many instances when it was assumed I could speak in Spanish (hablo poquito espanol ... lo es muy mal).