A rough week of exams and papers had come to the perfect end when I traveled to New York for the long weekend. Not being the perfect weather, minus 15 degrees is a bit cold even if you love wintertime, my first weekend trip turn to be the most peaceful and warmest of them all.
It was said this particular weekend was the coldest of the season and even if NY is colder than DC, my 4 days there weren’t as bad as it sounds. I arrived on Friday morning with the bus and I went directly to Google to meet my friend Lucas who works there. We hadn’t seen each other for 7 months so I was really looking forward to see him again. At Google we had lunch together and he showed me his office and the cool things in the building. Yes, everything you’ve ever heard about the different and original stuffs that Google provides is less attractive than what they really have. Is not only the floor that is design according to the 4 seasons of the year, or the playroom with Pool and massage chairs, or the Lego area where anyone can play while having a snack or the acoustic room full of instruments, or that every employee can go from one side of the building to the other side with a scooter what makes you understand that any lucky person that worked hard enough to get there, receives amazing things in return. It’s the comfortable environment at Google, where they take care of every detail, what would definitely make a person work with energy and passion and the desire of doing his best for the spectacular company he is working in.
After really cold walks, my friend and I visited every store in Times Square, we did some shopping, ate some traditional Argentine Empanadas, visited some neighborhoods, almost got Broadway tickets for 25 dollars and we ate at Katz’s Delicatessen, the best Pastrami place in the world. Most people know it because of the famous movie scene in “When Harry met Sally” but most of us know it as the famous Jewish pastrami place that is top one in your Must Do list and is even more important than going to Central Park. So if you are trying to be a vegetarian, well, I strongly suggest you never go to this place!
This weekend I also spent time with my family that lives in Manhattan. My cousins and their kids gave me the hugs and kisses that my body needed to warm up. On Friday night we had Shabbat Dinner together and it made me feel at home. We took pictures; we played games and watched a movie while we ate homemade cupcakes with the shape of a heart (my five years old cousin was the fantastic cook). On Sunday I had brunch with one of my cousins and I finally met his beautiful baby. We spent a few hours together catching up and after that I walked around until I met my other cousins for teatime. My weekend was surrounded of babies and kids full of energy to play, run and be amazed of small things. That’s what young children remain us; even moving shiny color lights reflected on the floor are good enough to make us smile and have fun in a freezing weather.
It was Valentine’s Day and everyone was really happy, cold and in love. There were flowers, chocolates, balloons and red things everywhere you looked. That night Lucas, his roommate,his French friend and I had dinner together in an Asian place. I had an exquisite Ramen soup and after that we travelled to Brooklyn for the pregame at one of his Argentine friend’s place where I met grad students. The food, the decoration of the house and even the napkins were red. I must say that is a really strange thing for an Argentinian because we don’t really care about this particular day. Some couples do receive and buy gifts for their partners but is not something as relevant as it is for the Americans or the New Yorkers in particular. The nightclub was also a special place because one of my friends took the balloon with the shape of a heart with her and every time she moved we could find her just looking up. It was a bit funny and as I called it, Love was in the Air!
On Sunday night we watched the NBA All-star game at a bar. Of course it was not the same to watch the game in the TV than being there but we had a great time together with the rest of the fans there, my Chinese friend Andy included, who is also an exchange student and we met in NY. It was really nice to find new friends, to get to know them and spend time with people that I really liked.
But it was not all about family and friends; I also got the chance to do a few touristic things. I lived two blocks from Times Square so I definitely went to every gigantic store there, I took the classic picture on the stairs and finally I did the “15 seconds of fame” on the big screen. Believe it or not, this was my third time in the big city but I never tried to take those pictures before. One thing I can definitely thank about that freezing weather is that not too many people wanted to be outside so all the touristic places were not as crowded as those use to be.
Also, I went to the Natural History Museum with my little cousins that run all the time but still enjoyed the petrified animals. After the Museum we got back to their house uptown so we walk by the frozen Central Park, which is marvelous.
When I started thinking about my long weekend and the places I wanted to go, I only knew that the World Trade Center, the memorial of 9/11, was the only place I was definitely going. The last time I’ve been in NY, the monument was still being constructed so I only had an idea of how it was going to be. Next to the new building that replaced the twin towers there are two gigantic square fonts with all the names of the victims written to the side and once you get there you can feel the majesty of the place; you can feel the cold. The memories about that day, some people crying and the breeze in your face reminds you that is not only a touristic place in the city, is not another monument or funny attraction where you can loose money and most important, is not a place you could easily forget. I didn’t have the chance to visit the twin towers when I was younger but if only one building made me feel small, I can’t imagine the symbolism and power that represented the original ones. Now there is only one. Now we are here. We are alive and is our obligation to never forget, to stand against terrorism. Not only for us but also for them.
Family, old friends, new friends, touristic places, Google, nightclubs, reflections, warm homes, delicious food and the freezing weather in only 4 days. Definitely, New York is the City that never sleeps.