Chocolate & Spice

chocolate, spice and the other pleasures in life

Friday, October 06, 2006

New York

The spectacular night scene from the Empire State Building - photo courtesy of A's colleague, YF

We're finally back in Melbourne after a truly fun but exhausting 3 weeks away in Singapore and New York. A and I both had a wonderful time away, particularly with all the great food we had been chowing down non-stop! Amazingly, this is the first time we've gone on a long-haul flight and vacation together; most of our holidays over the past 3 years had been snatched between work in the region or else visiting his family back in Sydney most summers. Perhaps that explains why we both had a fabulous time in New York, and also why we had unabashedly set out to enjoy ourselves without worrying too much about everything else.

So where do I start about the whirlwind 2 weeks we spent in New York, eating, shopping and sightseeing our way around the city? It seemed like everyday brought something new to get all excited over! I'd amassed a pile of name cards, menus, city attraction blurbs, cut-outs from the New York Times, leaflets off the streets so as to remember the many wonderful places we visited but looking at them right now, nothing seems to flow in coherent continuity about our time there. Our 2 weeks there seemed to have kinda kaleidescoped into a psychedelic swirl of colours, much like the Times Square billboards outside our hotel, with certain memories standing out in sharp relief. Maybe it's also got to do with the copious amounts of alcohol we (ok A) consumed most nights with dinner!

The bright lights of Times Square - a pyschedelic mishmash of billboards and surging humanity

For me, quite a few of my favourite memories of New York had to do with enjoying everyday things like conquering the labyrinth subway system, digging through the shoe section at Century 21 on a Tuesday (when new stock comes in) and eating my way around SOHO, Greenwich and the West Village. For A, he mentioned that his all-abiding favourite memory was seeing my eyes light up and hearing my squeals of excitement upon alighting the bus to start outlet shopping at Woodbury Common (what nonsense! I'm sure I didn't squeal in excitement...) but I also believe it was him straddling work and play that appealed to him. With his office situated just off Wall Street (more in a separate post), it was just like living and working in New York.

Truth be told, much as we had crammed our 2 weeks there full of activities, New York has too many attractions, whether in the way of shopping, sightseeing, theatre or eating, to ever finish. Therein lies the attraction of this city of lights I guess, that sense of infinite possibilities around the corner, as a native New Yorker friend of ours once said. In our time there, we tried to do like the locals did instead of gawking around the city like so many other mid-west American tourists. It helped that we had friends residing in New York who gave us clues on where to eat/shop/hang out so we could experience the daily life of a New Yorker. Of course we still did the usual tourist traps, after all, what would be a visit to New York without seeing the Statue of Liberty or Ground Zero?

So instead of rehashing all the usual stories about where we went and what we saw (tourist traps included), we thought it might be best to crystallise our top 10 collective memories of our time in New York into little bite-sized pieces. Now it's hard for me not to gush too much as many of these memories had evoked in me a long-dormant childish sense of glee so these will all be in separate posts to spare you the sensory overload.

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