Not being a city person per se, for the first few hours after landing I was reflecting on how I would want my NYC experience to shape up. The solution presented itself the moment I reached my college senior’s apartment. New York was going to be about friends & acquaintances. It is with them that I have been experiencing all that this amazing place has to offer. That somewhere during the process I have ended up making friends for life is another story altogether (which shall be narrated in due course).
ISI junta & The Met
If you are a museum person then The Met is definitely a destination for you. Located on the Museum Mile, which stretches along Central Park on the Upper East Side, it is one of the most famous art museums in the world. If you are walking through Central Park, you can find the museum by moving toward the Obelisk, a large Central Park monument that is next to the museum.
It was in the corridors of the Met that we caught up on life during post-grad, my stint with the corporate world and my erstwhile classmates’ struggles with research. From the Met we moved towards Central Park and our conversation steered from our lives to the question of nationalism. After all,three argumentative Indians meeting in New York after ages would be declared anti-national if they did not discuss the raging issue of nationalism!
Stephen’s Acquaintance, Times Square & Lion King
Before I move on, here is the hard truth: I was a shady resi during my days in Stephen’s. So it was a pleasant surprise when a Stephanian, who is not even from my batch, dropped me a message asking if I happened to be in NYC. She happened to be visiting US around the same time. Some nice evening outings, some late night (IST) calls to friends and The Lion King followed.
That Lion King defines not only my childhood but pretty much everything that I have ever valued would just about summarize my feelings for it. To finally be at Minskoff Theatre, Broadway, to watch The Lion King was definitely one major thing off my bucket list. Oh and by the way, the musical was ethereal. Deserves every bit of the hype surrounding it.
New Found Friends/Flatmates, NYC Bus Tours & Times Square
First, the story of my house-hunting: I had shifted into my senior’s place when my parent’s acquaintance in Connecticut got in touch with me and informed me that her friends live in the same building as where I was temporarily staying. I dropped by to say “Hi!” and in due course I was given the contact of the couple’s first landlady in Jersey City. In a day everything was finalized. The couple very graciously gave me their spare comforter, sheets and a pillow! In fact on my first Sunday here, they took me to the outlet stores near Jersey Shore (you need to know my love for shopping to understand the true worth of their gesture)! Then my landlady drove me to my new flat and helped me shift my luggage. Coming from Gurgaon, I was completely unaccustomed to such gestures. It is nice to know that humanity still exists. In Gurgaon, I am not so sure though!
I shifted into my new flat and once we were beyond the initial coldness, my flatmates and I have got along like nobody’s business. They took it upon themselves to take me for one of those New York bus tours (and this when they have been living here for the last 3-4 years!). That we decided upon a sunny (according to forecast) Saturday would eventually turn into a cloudy, windy and cold Saturday not all appropriate for an open bus tour was a contingency we were not prepared for. We were so atrociously cold after our Downtown Tour that we overstayed in Olive Garden, our luncheon place, for the warmth it offered and ended up missing our Uptown Tour. With nothing to do till the Brooklyn Tour, we gave Times Square our undivided attention for the next couple of hours!
To say that we had a lot of fun would be an understatement. The cold simply increased the memory quotient of that Saturday. Just a piece of advice: Do not take the green bus tours, the red ones are better, so tells my flatmate! We were on a green one and the guides were deplorable (which simply increased the fun)!
ISI Seniors, Washington Square Park, The Village, NYU, East Village & Strand
Firstly, I was thrilled by the atmosphere that existed in Washington Square Park. That was the meeting point that we had decided upon, and I felt glad that it was so. The park seemed alive. Let’s just put it that way.
Meeting of two successive Students’ Representative meant that a lot of ISI gossip was indulged in. Hilarious episodes of what used to happen versus what has been happening were duly narrated and laughed at. After being treated to some awesome cookies and $1 sandwiches at 100 Montaditos, a not-so-guided tour of NYU was provided. My dream of purchasing books banned in India was fulfilled at Strand. At Union Square Park we were finally joined by the third single of the evening!
The party (of singles!) then moved from Union Square Park to Meskerem, an Ethiopian restaurant on Macdougal Street. Important and unimportant matters were duly taken up for discussion during our meal till we finally said goodbye around 12:30 a.m.
To be continued…