Thursday, October 4, 2012

Reverse Culture Shock: Missing NYC

I'm going through another phase of culture shock. According to the book I'm currently reading (The Art  of Coming Home by Craig Storti), this is the phase where I'm constantly comparing everything or hating everything around me while I become nostalgic for the 'home' that once was.
So instead of a negative post that will make me feel worse (and fall even sicker), I'm going to list the top 10 reasons of what I miss about MY New York City.

1) 24 hour convenience
There are so many delis, restaurants, cafes, bars, drugstores (Duane Reade, Walgreens, CVS are all within a short 3-5 block radius), subway/bus system, and even Korean Spas, hair salon, Apple Store, Best Buy are open 24 hours or very late. I also loved ordering from Seamlessweb or calling in for Delivery when my entire body aches from hitting the hard pavement all day long or when the weather is less than ideal (an extra tip for the delivery guy of course for braving the elements). Fresh Direct, became another convenience delivering groceries to your door! Fresh produce, fresh pastas, sauces, eggs, frozen foods, drinks, toilet paper, facial tissue, and paper towels were delivered to my home. I actually would spend less than going to the grocery store because I was less inclined to purchase uneccessary items.

2) Abundance of dance classes at the advanced level
I had my pick of modern dance classes throughout the city and there were an abundance of different teachers that taught different styles. Sometimes these teacher were also working choreographers or Artistic Directors of their own dance companies. The styles were varied and I loved it! My favorite dance studio, Dance New Amsterdam had my favorite classes. I remember going to DNA when it was formerly known as Dance Space Center at the space on 451 Broadway right by the Canal street station. And then when the studio moved to City Hall area, I walked to the studio because I lived downtown at that time. I would schedule my week around my morning dance classes at DNA and I could estimate the time how long it would take to get downtown on the 4,5,6 trains. I made new friends taking dance classes at DNA. I also took part in Performance Project and Choreolab when my favorite teachers were leading it. I also took classes from Movement Research, Peridance, and 100 Grand every few months depending on who was teaching. I loved being able to follow favorite teachers/choreographers from one studio to the next.

Group Photo from Performance Project 2009, Stephanie Liapis' piece "Soak"

3) Dance New Amsterdam
The studio where I took classes, workshops, and rehearsed. I choreographed quite a number of pieces at DNA studios. Rehearsal space was affordably rented at about $15/hr. The studios were big, clean, sprung, brightly lit, and easy to get to for everyone. It was like my constant second home in NYC. I showcased my work at the theater during the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference and Choreolab. I also watched performances at DNA.

4) Whole Foods in Union Square & then later Houston Street
When I first moved to New York in 2005, I would spend many lunches after my dance classes downtown at DNA at the Union Square branch eating lunch on the second floor. It had big windows and overlooked Union Square. Made for great people watching, the prepared foods were pretty good and I could eat there solo without feeling like I was the only one. Watching everyone from those big windows and being engrossed in the energy of the city was pretty exciting. I grew more in love with the city during those lunches. I really regret not taking a picture of the view from Whole Foods to share here. As the years went by, I would seek quieter places to have lunch or dinner when I'm too lazy to cook dinner. I have spent some time shopping, browsing, eating, reading a book, socializing with a friend or my boyfriend at the Houston Street location. The more relaxed nature of the Houston Street location gave me a chance to unwind a bit. The layout of the grocery store was large, spread out, and filled with wonderful produce, meat, dairy, snacks, sauces/condiments, bakery, and prepared foods section. Upstairs consists of a salad bar, coffee bar, Italian restaurant, and conveyor belt sushi.

5) Union Square
This is my favorite area in New York. Whole Foods to the south, Barnes & Nobles, Petco, and Sephora to the North, Republic, Lululemon, Tisserie then later Pret, American Eagle to the West of the park. Farmer's Market and the Christmas Market were also extremely fun to peruse and go shopping. I would spend a lot of time in this area. When I moved closer to Union Square, I would spend so much time in the area that I didn't need to purchase a monthly metrocard. I remember when Virgin Megastore was in Union Square. I have memories of ducking in there when the weather was chilly with my boyfriend and check out the video games in the basement. We discovered the Warriors game from the bargain bin and spent one winter playing the game at the end of the day.

6) NYC TCK Meetup group
This meetup group has been like an extended family for the past couple years and I miss the friends I've made through the group terribly. Read my previous post here.

7) Cobble stone streets of Soho and Tribeca
Soho and Tribeca is very picturesque and is a nod to old New York lofts with its cobble stone streets and Cast Iron buildings. Shopping in Soho for Christmas presents, a new outfit, window shopping out of boredom, and working in Soho. I remember spending my lunch hour walking around Soho. Tribeca had delicious restaurants and when I lived downtown, we would frequent Tribeca once a month for a nice dinner or go to dinner in Tribeca after performing or watching performances at DNA.

8) A.H. Dance Company
I miss having weekly rehearsals with my dancers. I miss my dancers. Since 2010, I've also toured a little bit with my company and learnt a lot on how to manage a group on tour as well as logistics. I miss performing and presenting my work at various theaters and festivals with my company in New York. From humble beginnings in 2007/2008 season until now... I'm going to make sure that A.H. Dance Company survives and becomes more of a global reach since I'm now here in Singapore.

9) Favorite restaurants, cafes, bakeries, etc.
My list: Basta Pasta, Laut, Baohaus, Sushi Samba, Cafe Sage, Les Halles, Resto, Financier, Bouchon Bakery, Tisserie, Ping's, Saint Alps Teahouse, Baoguette, Rai Rai Ken, Curry-Ya, Otafuku, Aquavit, Eleven Madison, Shake Shack, Eataly, Francois Payard Bakery, Cafe Zaiya, Udon West, Odeon, Baden Baden Chicken, Seoul Garden, Meatball Shop, Lombardi's Pizza, Patsy's, Stand, Babbo, Vanessa's Dumpling, Prosperity Dumpling, Vezzo, Pret a Manger, Franklin Station Cafe, Barbone, Masak, Ennju, Japadog, Vive la Crepe, Rhong Tiam Express, Black Hound, Dean & Deluca, Jess Bakery, 71 Irving, Hawkers, Cha-An, Veniero's, Motorino Pizza, Paris Baguette, Grill 21, Java Village, Argo Tea, Hiroko's Place, Congee Village, Artisanal, Kittichai, Bao Noodles, 'inoteca, Saburi, Fika, Gemini Diner, and a few more places because my memory is failing and can't remember the name of the place but remember the location and food... :-/

10) The Colorful people of New York City
You can be anyone in New York. Its true. I felt completely at ease with myself and felt whole. As a TCK, I'm always sectioning off parts of myself. After growing up like that. It felt good to be whole in a wonderful city like New York City.

But most important of all. New York City is where I spent my twenties (yes, I can say that now as I approach my 29th birthday in about a month!) and most of my working life. I <3 nyc="nyc" u="u">

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