Almost every British person I met in London told me they wanted to move to New York. But why?
As I always say, it’s a love-hate relationship when it comes to NYC. There are things to love, and things to hate, and not much in between. So when I actually have to live here, the balance fluctuates from day to day, but for visitors it’s just love-love-love.
Come to think of it, that may partly explain why I loved London so much–because I always approached it as a visitor, somewhat. Even though I was there for a year, I always knew my time there would be finite. So I woke up each day thinking I ought to make the most of it.
But I digress.
If you were counting, London totally killed NYC while I was abroad, racking up lots of awesomeness points: tea and scones, accessibility to the rest of Europe, free museums, pretty buildings, lots of parks, ginormous roses, the literary legacy. But coming back to NYC I’m reminded of a lot of reasons why NYC > London, too.
NYC+1: KOREAN FOOD. This, friends. THIS is what I’m talking about. A spread like that should count for 300 points at least.
Remember when I went to that Korean BBQ place in London where we had to pay for kimchi separately, and even pay for the lettuce to wrap our BBQ in? So wrong. Because this is how we do in America. Bro, Mom and I went to Geum Gang San in Flushing, where all of the above banchan dishes were served free of charge, with refills to our hearts’ content.
I got the deonjang + LA galbi special. Mmmmm how I have missed you so!
I can’t tell you how stuffed I was after this meal. No really. I refuse to describe it. Just thinking about it is making me feel fat right now.
NYC+2: Subways with air conditioning! Thank goodness too, cuz that heat wave was no joke.
NYC+3: Weekend brunch.
You know, I think from now on when people ask me what’s good about American food, I will simply say: BRUNCH.
I went with M to Nook in Hell’s Kitchen, where we split sweet (French toast) and savory (eggs benedict with smoked salmon)–a happy marriage!
NYC+4: There’s always something new to discover, no matter how long you’ve been around.
Walking into Grand Central station, P stopped me at a point where I’d stood hundreds of times–the busy entrance at Vanderbilt and E 42nd. She pointed up, and there it was: a breathtakingly, quintessentially New York cityscape that I’d never noticed before!
Granted, there was good sushi in London too. But NYC sushi wins. Sorry, London.
I’m forgetting the name of the restaurant we went to, and for some reason the word that comes to mind is “tamagachi,” which is clearly wrong. I remember the restaurant was pretty hard to find, as it was sort of tucked away behind Drom, a dive bar in the Lower East Side. With these clues I could definitely Google it pretty quickly. And I will. But for now, tamagachi is taking me back to middle school and I kinda like it.
NYC+6: Can’t beat the quirky.
K and I walked the full length of the High Line, which is one of my favorite places in NYC. It’s an old railroad track converted into a public space, an oasis amid a busy city. But the best part of the High Line is that the neighborhood it’s located in has a lot of character, and the neighbors inject an extra energy and quirky flair.
In one eye-level window, a life-size cardboard cutout with a hairy chest waves at passersby. On one rooftop, a “zoo” (when K mentioned this, I expected real animals!)
NYC+7: Levain Bakery. This needs no explanation. Just eat it.
Is “Thus Spake Zarastrutha” playing in your head right now? Because it should be. Humor me:
NYC+8+9+10+11908741: Delicious food, cheap & delicious food, food-food-food-food-FOOD!
Eataly with D&K–pasta perfectly al dente. Prosperity Dumpling–all of the above for $3!
Celeste in NYC, previously my fave Italian spot in NYC. Eataly was better, though.
Coffee and a bagel. Can’t beat NYC for making this combo just right.
Just look at those skies.
It truly is a beautiful city–when you’re looking up.
Look down and you’ll see the rats burrowing in trash cans… I saw a man sit on a dead cockroach on the subway because he didn’t look down first. Also there was a guy smoking a joint and saying really vulgar stuff on the subway. And another dude playing with a torch lighter. And…
In sum, if you want to love NYC, don’t live there.
Okay, okay. A friend of mine pointed out that only three of these reasons are not food-related. So two more:
Friends. Hardly needs to be said, as I’m not exactly going to go eat alone, am I? Oh shoot there I go with the food again.
Accessibility. In one day, I’d meet a friend from brunch on the Upper West Side, walk cross-town through Central Park, run errands near Union Square, get dinner on the Lower East Side, and come back up to Hell’s Kitchen for drinks. Pick up dumplings from Chinatown and chow down in Koreatown (oops, is that a faux pas?). And especially since the subway runs all night–party on!