And I’m back! Two weeks went in a blur. I’m glad to be back but I have a hangover from the New York experience.
We came at a perfect time, when NYC was experiencing a streak of perfect weather. Clear skies and cool temperatures.
It was so nice to just walk all the time, and 20 blocks were nothing. NYC is a walking city after all, and it was an endless cycle of walking to the subway station, riding the subway, getting to the station and walking again. If you’re going to New York, you have to get one of the subway apps. It got me through the subway experience with just a couple of wrong trains (only because the schedule is screwed up on weekends, hmph.) Instead of going back to the Lower East Side, we ended up here.
Lost in NYC at midnight is not fun.
It was a time for meeting up with old friends as well. First and foremost, we stayed with Orley’s cousin Chad and his family – Ellie, and his two wonderful children, Felino and Kali. Having the two boys around helped. I can’t help but think how fun it would be if they ever got to meet Basti. On my last weekend, we spent a wonderful day at the Dumbo Arts Festival, and had a great dinner in Chinatown.
Speaking of Chinatown, I was reunited with my favorite dish from my Dalian days, zhurou jiucai jiaozi, or pork and leek dumplings. Soooo good. Found in a little noodle and dumpling shop on East Broadway.
I didn’t expect to speak a fair amount of Mandarin while I was in New York. It was the most Chinese I’ve spoken since leaving China in 2008. To me it was such a obvious example of the diversity of the city.
I met up with JC and Rica, and had a great lunch at Blue Smoke.
An old friend from college, Ana Lissa, and our awesome evening at Braai. I had the ostrich and Ana Lissa had the duck. Really good food and the wine they suggested for the pairing was really nice.
I met up with Cheryl a few times too. She’s one of my dearest friends from college as well and has been in the city for a while. She cooked dinner for me a couple of times. I just realized I don’t have any pictures of our second dinner with Maysie. I am the worst when it comes to pictures, really. I get so caught up in the moment that I totally forget my camera. She also took me to brunch at Pastis, in the oh-so-chic meatpacking district.
One time we had dinner at Ippudo. It was a long wait but the pork buns and the ramen (and a few drinks) were worth it. The place had a very young, vibrant atmosphere, and the energy from the open kitchen lent to its very exciting vibe. And of course, the ramen was heaven.
And here is the reunion I almost forgot. Back in 2007, I took a trip to Tibet and searched for trip buddies online. My friend Dominique and I traveled with Jennifer and Ken for 11 days from Tibet to Mount Everest and back. I almost forgot they were from the area! One email later, we were able to have lunch on my last weekend in New York. It was so nice to see them again after so many years. If only Dominique could join us as well, but she lives all the way in South Africa. We missed you Dom!
We spent two days in New Jersey, in a really lovely area full of trees and horse farms. We came to shoot the video for the Art Renewal Center, the main reason why we made this trip in the first place. It was so nice to meet the Ross family, the moving force behind the Art Renewal Center, They are major supporters of the realism genre, and have a huge hand in honoring and uplifting the art form and the artists behind realism. Thank you so much for the wonderful hospitality. It was such an honor to meet you all, and the privilege of seeing your private collection of art is something I will never forget.
New York City is a heaven for artists. The Metropolitan Museum is a beautiful experience. I think it will take years to take everything the museum has to offer.
My visit to MoMA was awesome. I will admit I had tears in my eyes when I came face to face with The Starry Night.
Here are some pieces that made me giddy. Warhol, Klimt, Kahlo, Dali, Rosseau, Pollock.
I took pics of NYC landmarks when I saw them, and went to visit the 911 Memorial. It was very moving to be there.
Then there’s the shopping. I’m not in a clothes and bags and shoes phase right now. It was fall anyway, and there wasn’t much I could buy that was right for our weather. So I bought mostly makeup and toys. I did my shopping at MAC, Inglot and Sephora. Will post more details of my makeup haul soon.
I was able to visit the Disney Store for Basti’s Halloween costume. It was a toss-up between Jake from the Neverland Pirates and Woody, but the accompanying wig won it for me. I bought Basti a Woody t-shirt though. He’s been obsessed with minions right now, so these glasses were an absolute hit. His favorite though? Magnatiles. Oh gosh, they are the best toys ever. Basti loves to build things, and already has a few sets of building toys. But these magnetized tiles were just awesome. I want to get him another set someday.
It was a quick trip, but it was long enough to make me fall in love with New York City. No wonder some people call it the best city in the universe. There are so many things to see and do, and two weeks wasn’t enough to do it justice. It really has a life of its own! See you again someday, NYC!