New York makes me bleed. It makes me bleed money from my pores, day and night, filling in the cash registers of restaurants, bakeries and bars. Ever since I flew back from Kuwait a few weeks ago, the Big Apple has chewed out a sizeable chunk of my wallet’s reservoir. I continue to be amazed at the revelry this city inspires. And I continue to spend, filling up my stomach and emptying my cashbox.
I wasn’t very happy to leave the comfort of home, but if there’s one place I would want to go to drown myself in the happiness of company, laughter and food, it would be New York City. I
thought that somehow, I'd be immune to New York's seduction and pull. How wrong I was.
Where else can I spend a night drinking Tamarind Margaritas and chomping down on tacos with my girl Holly after getting off a 13-hour plane ride? Noho’s Hecho En Dumbo
is the neighborhood’s newest cooler-than-thou Mexican joint. I still had my sweaty travel clothes on and my backpack slung over my shoulder, but that didn’t stop me.
Where else do museums look this cool, with exhibitions that are so thought-provoking?
Where else can you sit at a cute coffee shop and then go shopping at Muji, Japan's leading brandless design store (which ironically has become a coveted brand in and of itself) while I wait for Yanie to take her sweet time getting to Manhattan from Joisey so that we can have lunch at Freemans, my favorite mellow hipster-central lunch locale?
Where else can you go to the inimitable MoMA to chill with Eve (who worked there) and Tommy while walking through exhibits loudly flaunting Williams ARTH101-102 expertise, following it up with an unmatchable noodle dinner at Rai Rai Ken when the wait at Momofuku around the corner is just way too long?And where else can Tommy find a bar that would whip me up a Pomegranate Daiquiri? Where, might I ask?
Where else can you pack snacks for a car ride from Momofuku Milk Bar where David Chang's compost cookies and bagel bombs can keep you content for hours as you zoom along the highway? Where else is coffee, imported from the West Coast's Stumptown Coffee Roasters, this good?
Where else can you have a "Five-Dolla' Date" with Michelle from Whole Foods and then eat your spoils in Union Square? Where else can you find a place like Brooklyn Larder, where there's rich dark chocolate sorbet, hard-to-find-outside-of-Italy San Pelligrino citrus sodas and sea salt caramels all under one roof? Where else can you and Michelle go sit out in Prospect Park with a dulcimer singing "Paparazzi"?
Where else can you take a crash course in how to be a hipster anywhere other than Williamsburg, where Spoonbill & Sugartown Books teaches me about all things Foucauldian and forward and where chorizo tacos come out of a non-conformist truck? Where else can I get coffee from my favorite San Francisco roasters that will change the way I think about beans? Where else can I find Brooklyn-made chocolate in gorgeous wrappers and where can I find stores like OAK that will sell me cropped deconstructed jersey pants?
Where else can you buy a meal wrapped in banana leaves from a woman who doesn't speak English in Chinatown? Where else can you find cute gluten-free spelt-made cupcake stores? Where else can you get Grapefruit Margaritas at a painfully hip Chinese-Latino fusion bar in a shady corner of the Bowery? Where else can you catch ultra-mod theater at the Fringe Festival? And where the hell else can you go out with friends to a Jazz Club in Brooklyn's Flatbush and laugh endlessly over glass after glass of white while being enchanted by a singer who sounds just like Norah Jones?
The answer is to this endless string of questions is simple: New York has it all. Everything and anything that my heart desires. But most of all, this summer, it had my friends.
My endless love to Maya, Rachel, Tommy, Holly, Yanie, Michelle and Eileen! The time I spent at Rachel's grandpa's Upper East Side river apartment, Eileen's beautiful Jersey home, Maya's bangin' crib and Holly's Prospect Heights digs I will never forget.
ADDENDUM 1: Week at Williams
Rachel and I drove up to Billsville a couple of days after I got back from Kuwait, stocked with goodies courtesy of David Chang's genius. I ended up staying at Williams for over a week just being a (happy) bum surrounded by beautiful friends. Mornings at Tunnel City, evenings with dinner from Sushi Thai or Chopsticks and group forays into Bennington for meals at the Blue Benn Diner and the Rattlesnake Café: that’s the Williamstown summer lifestyle. We had movie marathons with screenings of Mean Girls and Mulan and many lazy, dozy days under the sun. We reveled in picnics at Williamstown’s Sundays at Six (at four) and seats at Summer Theater Lab’s “Viva la Evolucion!” (a sneak peak at a New York Fringe festival show with a Cuban-meets-Fruit Loops flavor). More generally: good times with good friends in a setting that kept me almost deliriously happy in the summer sunshine. Impromptu parties were always popping up around bottles of wine or tubs of hummus. I almost forgot for a minute how messed up Williams can be during the academic year and in my state of bliss, I questioned my desire to study abroad (Don’t worry: I quickly snapped myself out of it). I ended the week with a trip down to Rockland County, New York with Amanda, Madeleine and Vanessa. We spent an afternoon at Woodbury Commons, a night at Amanda’s with delicious Puerto Rican food and a morning in the town of Nyack.
I've spent most of the past week in the suburbs of DC with my sister and her two little 'uns being uncle-extraordinaire. I have now read Curious George Rides The Train a total of 4 times and the Cat in the Hat at least 3 times. I know that if you poop in the toilet, you're rewarded with chocolate ice-cream but a simple peeing only gets you a lollipop. I now know the answer to anything is "Why?" and that Goldilocks is the flag bearer for all things rude. I've also learned that music in its immaculate form constitutes Twinkle Twinkle and the Macarena. I come out of this truly cultured.