After a first set back due to technical problems with our plane, after a then following three-hour-queuing-up-marathon to get new tickets, after missing two other planes and racing frantically through Heathrow airport, we eventually reached our destination. The cab drove us straight to Bowery Street, China Town. Exhausted and jet lagged, I opened the door and stepped straightaway into garbage juice… probably fermented leftovers from a seafood platter: New York City, here’s me!
Getting around in New York City
Next day, after the seafood garbage mix fiasco was forgotten and my shoes clean again, we were up and about to visit the big apple. BUT, you do not visit New York City during summer by bus, nor by cab, nor by subway… no, cause if you are a fervent walker, you sight see your way through the buzz by foot! So, here’s my advice: even if they look stylish and comfortable, do not choose Converse All Stars as your predilection footwear! They are just stylish and NOT comfortable, at least not, if your average daily walking distance is somewhere around 25 km.
I eventually gave in and replaced my fiercely loved, swank sneakers, with bright green and pinkish, somewhat cloggy running shoes… (Add to these: leggings, a broad T-shirt, a disposable Star bucks mug in one hand, an iPhone in the other and big fat Ray Ban sunglasses on top of your nose… Long live the New Yorker cliché!) At least, I fit right in with the local crowd!
Chinatown (on the map)
So, Chinatown on the lower east side of Manhattan has the largest population of Chinese people living together in the Western Hemisphere. Canal Street is the epicenter of the “town” and a mishmash of street vendors selling replica perfumes, watches (or any other stuff that can easily be reproduced), tourists loving that stuff and scurried students.
Chinatown’s major industry is tourism and restaurants; here you can find the cuisine of virtually every province of China, especially from the mainland and Hong Kong.
Speaking of Chinese food, if you are visiting Chinatown, plan on making a stop at Shanghai Heping Restaurant on Mott Street (which is technically situated in Little Italy and not in Chinatown anymore, but who cares!) Order a pork & crab dumpling soup and ask one of the waiters to show you how to eat them Chinese style. This will also help you not to boil your tongue senseless! It’s quite an art to eat that soup, but it is extra delicious and I still sometimes secretly fantasize about it. Other dishes to be recommended, are the Beef Chili Sichuan Pepper and the Roasted Pork with Seaweed, though I guess all their courses are such tasty eats!
Our hotel, the Wyndham Garden Chinatown, was as the name reveals, also situated in Chinatown and quite a good catch – comfortable, contemporary and not too expensive for New York! The drawback is that on weekends the Chinese youngsters tend to take over the first-floor bar and think they are able to stomach loads of alcohol (which they are not)… but, hey, you can’t have it all!
The rooftop bar terrace of the Wyndham Garden is a whole different story: looking down from the 18th floor on lower Manhattan, sipping a chilled Chardonnay and enjoying a thunderstorm in the distance… that’s just priceless!
Want to discover another cool neighbourhood in NYC? Here’s Meatpacking District!