New York Again

I don’t know what it is with this city but I just can’t get enough. Maybe it’s the mix between global, cosmopolitan and local that I love. The fact that although New York is so big and has everything, including people and their cultures from everywhere, and the center of fashion, art, finance, and business, it still has a local feel in the different neighborhoods. Just a block off 5th or Broadway, there are the small neighborhoods where friends and neighbors run into each other in the street corners or chitchat with a local store owner. The Boroughs are even better of course. And then it’s like everyone can find their own favorite spot in the city, that seems to be there just for them. I actually have a few, including Bryant Park and a special spot in Central Park, and I love spending time at the New York City Library on 5th Avenue.

This time, I also headed out to Coney Island and Brighton Beach, where my host and I had a long lunch at one of the Russian restaurants out in Little Odessa – another of my by favorite spots in New York. I spent most part of Sunday in Central Park with a book and bagel and coffee from Zabar’s. So as always, I had a great weekend in New York!

Here are a few pics from Coney Island and Brighton Beach:








Swedish Midsummer in New York

I’m in New York this weekend. It’s the summer solstice and thus Swedish Midsummer – the folkloric tradition that celebrates life in the hope of a good harvest, good health, and a good life. We raise a maypole dressed in leaves and flowers and dance around it, sing, and eat, drink and sing some more. Herring and new potato with sour cream and chives would be on the traditional table, along with crisp bread, butter and the traditional hard cheeses. Drinks would include beer and snaps (and when drinking the snaps is where the second singing comes in). For desert, we do Swedish strawberries with ice-cream or simply whipped cream. What’s most important is that the strawberries are Swedish because, as with everything else, the local climate gives the strawberries a specific taste. And the short nights up North this time of the year makes the strawberries much smaller than elsewhere, but also much, much sweeter. So we pay their worth in gold for these small, close to priceless berries.

In the evening, there are a lot of grills lit around Sweden with salmon or meat, and after the dinner, it’ s possibly time for a dip in the still oh so cold sea. Traditionally, midsummer also involved a lot of rites with flowers, for good health and for meeting our future spouses. Given that the sun doesn’t really set this night, there is a lot of folklore and spirituality this time of the year, as in the middle of the deep, dark winter. But I will spare you the details for another year. What I can say, though, is that there is a lot of love in the air over midsummer and so nine months after is when most babies are born in Sweden every year. Not sure how it will be in New York next year, but the Consulate General of Sweden had done a really good job in organizing the midsummer celebration in Battery Park and I did get to dance around the maypole also this year.

It’s difficult to see in the pics how much people that actually were in Battery Park, but over 4,000 people had accepted the Facebook invite and my guess is that there were more people than me there who hadn’t.





Pre-Holiday Weekend in New York

So it seems like the more I worked on setting up my new blog and other social media, the less time I had to actually write posts. Sorry for that, will try to better (though I can add that when my personal social media advisor, i.e. my friend Anna, reduced the target I set for post per week from four to three. So although it is probably more realistic, there is apparently little hope for me improving!)

Admittedly, not much has happened anyway in this period. At least not that much that is worth blogging about. I have worked a lot and prepared for the holidays. To really get into the spirit, Anna and I decided to take the bus up to New York last weekend, to see the Christmas decorations, buy Christmas gifts, and go ice-skating in Central Park. It was a wonderful weekend! Unfortunately, it was a little too warm for us to be in ice-skating mood (it hit 17 °C, i.e. over 70 °F our last day) but we did see the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center and all the Christmas decorations on 5th Avenue (my favorite were definitely inside Saks and at Bryant Park and the New York City Library), we went to no less than three Christmas markets (at Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, and Union Square), took a walk in Central Park, and had long lunches and dinners. Perfect New York weekend in other words! Since my favorite Brooklynite wasn’t in town this time, we stayed on Manhattan this time, which meant that I got to try a bunch of new restaurants and bars. Worth mentioning were:

The Bar Room (Upper East Side) – low-key, bistro style with comfy environment and good food, and with gorgeous art deco interiors. We went there for lunch, which was perfect!

Perla (Greenwich Village) – Italian inspired restaurant with good food and nice atmosphere! I had amazing fettuccine with black trumpet mushrooms.

Acme (East Village) – New American food with Nordic influences and also with kind of a bistro-style interior but less art deco and more functionalistic from what I remember. We ordered a bunch of small, tapas-like dishes to share and they were all delicious!

Little Branch (West Village) – Speak Easy with an almost hidden entrance and with a very small bar. Only a few people are let in at the time and the bartenders really take the time to provide you with the perfect cocktail.

Café Kava (Hells Kitchen) – a coffee shop close to our hotel that turned out to have the best muffins I’ve had so far in the U.S. They actually tasted like they had been in a real oven for a while. My favorite? Pear and pecan! And the people who worked there were very nice!

Actually, in all these places, the people who worked there were really nice and friendly, which makes such a difference. We stayed at the Yotel in Hells Kitchen, and although nice for the price, I think it targeted a younger audience. Perhaps most interesting was their bathroom set-up which didn’t include a proper door. A little odd! But other than that, the room was quite nice and at least we had a good view of the city from the 15th floor. And as always, I wish I could have stayed longer than the three days we were there.








// The view from our hotel room // Central Park in snow // The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center // Tiffany & Co. // The Christmas market at Columbus Circle // Christmas decorations outside a private townhouse on the Upper East Side //  Acme //

Three Lovely Days in New York City

I just got back a few hours ago after three wonderful days in New York. I visited a friend of mine who lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and I had a really relaxing time with him and his friends. As he had other friends in town, we ended up doing quite a bit of touristy things and took several ferries around Brooklyn and over to Staten Island. We also had time for quite a few restaurants, cafes (Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint and Egg for brunch today, among others), and bars these days. A really good restaurant that we went to was Traif. It served French inspired food, tapas style, and everything was delicious. (Or I see now that they refer to it as globally inspired soul-food, but I thought what we ordered very French.) It’s on South 4th Street in Brooklyn and I can recommend it! And Sunday afternoon, we went to a band session at The Shanty (New York Distilling Company), which made me feel a little like a student again and thinking that I should do such things more often!  I ended up working all day yesterday, but working in New York still feels a bit like vacation to me. The trip was totally spontaneous, but I am really glad I went! Here are some pics:






On the Bus to New York. Again.

I’m on the bus to New York again. It’s like an addiction! I don’t seem to get enough of this wonderful city, no matter how many times I come here. Unfortunately, my two close New Yorker friends that I new from Rome left over the past year, but I still have one friend here. Lucky me! Or even more lucky him who gets to live here! We’re heading down into the Lincoln Tunnel now (between New Jersey and Manhattan) so am about to get cut off. I’ll try to get around to post more while here. But first, a fun night in Williamsburg!


From A Freezing New York

Today wasn’t as inspiring as I had hoped, as I spent the entire day writing a job application. Since Jenny’s internet was down, I went to the Midtown Library to work on it, and even though it is one of my favorite places to sit and write in New York, it was a little depressing that the sun was already setting when I exited on East 40th Street at 4:30 pm. The day ended on a good note, though, as I had a coffee at Think Coffee with a friend, and then dinner with a Nordic group at Freeman’s. I can really recommend both places for more health and environmentally conscious eaters. (Freeman’s when it comes to sustainability – didn’t see anything posted at Think Coffee.) Here is a pic of Grand Central Station at dusk:


A Connection Point

A good thing with both New York and Washington is that so many people that I know pass through at one point or another. As some of you know, I have several friends and acquaintances from Rome and Chisinau that now live in here in NY and in DC. Not so surprising perhaps with all the International Organizations that are located in respective city, but comforting nevertheless for someone who moves around a lot to not always have to leave people for good when relocating to a new place.

But both cities are also good because people fly through or come for shorter stays like holiday or training. Today, I met up with a friend from Moldova whom I hadn’t seen in five years. Kristine was on her way back home after a few weeks stay in Russia and with a few days stop here in NY, we had a chance to meet up. It was great seeing her again and I hope it won’t be another five years until next time we meet!


In New York At Last!

Finally a New Yorker! Well, at least for a month. Therese and I decided a while back that if we can’t live here permanently, we can at least pretend to do so for the summer. I came up Thursday afternoon to attend a conference on Global Obesity yesterday, and am since just enjoying the atmosphere. I have no real plans for the next weeks except to work on my M.Sc. dissertation, write on my book, and try to acquire some of the New York attitude (though add a nice touch to it). However, after only two days here, I have already managed to tick off quite a few of the NY experience musts:

• Asian manicure at 9 pm – CHECK!
• Conference at the now infamous Sofitel Hotel – CHECK!
• Getting lost in the subway, adding 30 min to the trip – CHECK!
• Keys to a brownstone apartment in brooklyn – CHECK!
• Party at roof terrace in East Village – CHECK!
• Seeing a humongous rat in the subway – CHECK!
• Having lox bagel and coffee breakfast in Central Park – CHECK!

Therese will be here on Monday – can’t wait to see her!