As always, I really thought I would blog more during my stay in NY but, as always, there is too much to do thst is a lot more interesting than spending time in front of a screen, and so I ended up writing very little. But I did sense NY all the more instead! Tesse and I didn’t do too much sightseeing but we walked around a lot, especially in Brooklyn.
One of the more interesting places that we visited was the Hasadic Jewish quarter. From what I ubderstand, the Hasadic jews came over from Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th century and have since more or less tried to isolate themselves in order to live according to their values. This includes dressing in a quite unmodern manner, the men (and boys) having the kippa and the ortodox jewish hairstyle, and women preferably not showing their natural hair at all, but instead wearing wigs. Apparently, the largest group is the Satmar Hasidic court, which coincidentally has its origins in the Romanian town Satu Mare that I visited three years ago. We had hoped to come across amazing bagels and other traditionally Jewish bakery and food, but there were few stores and from little I could see, the offer reminded me mostly of Kyrgyz department stores from the time of the Soviet Union. There were however signs of the 21st century, such as new cars, cell phones, plastic toys, and the Bugaboo stroller. For a Stockholmer, this might not seem so odd since not using a Bugaboo stroller for an infant there is almost like not using paper dipers for them. In the US however, this stroller is more rare and is mostly seen on paprazzi pictures of famos people out with their kids. The thing that pussles me is who decides this? Who decides that a cell phone is OK but not jeans? That you can have a trendy and expensive stroller for your kids, but you can’t have modern kitchenwear in your kitchen, or consume modern media? It is all a great mystery to me!
Another interesting place that we went to was Park Slope and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Or perhaps mostly interesting because the park and the area around it is like a secret twin to Central Park and yet it is all very quiet and sleepy. Quite surreal!
Similarily surreal was Coney Island where we went for the 4th of July. We missed the final of the annual National Hot Dog Eating Contest (!) but there was still a lot to see, both in terms of the old fun fairs (apparently, there is a freak show there and I don’t think I even have to comment on the fact that they still call it freak show!), the boardwalk, and the people. We ended up walking over to Brighton Beach (a traditionally Russian neighborhood) and had lunch at a Russian restaurant. In the evening, I tried to honor my new home country and thus we had hamburgers for dinner and watched Macy’s fireworks on the Hudson River.
So the whole week was great! In addition to everything we saw, we met a lot of cool New Yorkers (including Jenny!) who took us around to cool restaurants and bars, and so we had a fantastic time! I just wish we could have stayed longer!
Photos to come – have yet to figure out how to upload them from my i-pad….