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Published: January 19th 2009
The low temperatures and biting winds that greeted me as I exited the plane at JFK were a confirmation that New York is not adjacent to Buenos Aires. Less conclusively, many of my fellow passengers on the subway from Howard Beach into Manhattan were reading Spanish language newspapers. I rendezvoused with LA Woman in the East Village then we made our way to a hotel on the Upper West Side for an intense session of DCMs and skimmed milk.
The 1/2/3 subway line is a thread connecting the salient parts of the 4 years I spent in New York, linking the 3 different places I lived in as well as the initial location of my job, so ending up in a hotel near the 96th Street stop was an extension of my previous life here. It was somehow comforting to be riding its trains again, the platforms at each station so very familiar.
Two days after my arrival, the city received a few inches of snow, creating a Christmas scene that charmed from behind a window but was a major pain in the arse when venturing outside. Central Park demonstrated again its stark beauty in the monochrome following a
AOL Time Warner Centre, Columbus Circle
snowfall, the frozen ponds and white-lined tree branches creating a stunning image of simplicity. A little further south, we wandered amongst the crowds and Christmas decorations along Fifth Avenue and beside the Rockefeller Centre. Though New York is something of a trial when it comes to shopping so close to Christmas, no other city encapsulates the commercial spirit of the season quite as magnificently.
I'm not a massive foodie, with culinary evolution in my mind needing no further progress after the creation of DCMs, but it was still a source of surprising enjoyment to gorge on all the food that had in general been absent from South America. In particular I was pleased to note that various new ramen joints had sprung up in Manhattan since 2005, one of which, Ippudo, had attracted favourable reviews from the ramen cognoscenti as well as casual diners. We had to wait for seats, a situation that travelling has left me even more intolerant of, but the bowl of greasy goodness that I was eventually served was an ideal remedy for the chill of a winter's day.
The late sunsets of Buenos Aires were now half a world away, and I was
temporarily confused to find the onset of darkness occurring when many restaurants weren't even open for dinner, let alone bustling with activity. I spent some of the long evenings meeting up with friends as well as various members of LA Woman's clan, the latter of whom did an excellent job of hiding their incredulity at why the eldest daughter of their line should have decided to hook up with a balding travel bum with no prospects.
Six short days later, I was at Newark Airport waiting for a flight back to Europe.
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