Downtown NYC

The trip to NYC wasn’t our first one but it was our second one. I can’t remember precisely when but we visited the city one autumn about 17 years ago.

17 years is a long time and a city like New York (or Tokyo or even London), the period is long enough to transform parts of the city beyond recognition. And that was exactly what happened when I visited Chelsea Market.

I was very lost on W12th Street…

‘Chelsea Market? No, this is West Village!’ Oh dear,  I thought I was walking northward from the subway but I was in fact heading southward. A woman with her dog kindly offered to walk with me so I wouldn’t get lost again. As we strolled down leafy side streets, we talked how the Big Apple had changed over the years.  She was especially weary of all the developments – commercial and residential – around Downtown Manhattan. ‘My mother’s apartment in which I was born and raised, is rent-controlled. Otherwise, I have no idea how we can continue to live in the area’. The story sounded very familiar across the pond.

I wasn’t 100% sure which part of Chelsea we visited 17 years ago but the area appeared to be a lot smarter than the one in my memory. The streets were lined with well known international brands, such as Apple, Kooples and Boss alike, and the sight gave me a sinking feeling. Oh god, another aftermath of gentrification.

A view northward from High Line…

Lush vegetation on the walkway was a welcome change to the otherwise very urban area…

A view around Meatpacking District…

The view from High Line was amazing. I could see warehouses for meat as well as boutiques / headquarters of famous fashion designers. It was a little like my neighbourhood Shoreditch in London.

After leaving High Line, I revisited West Village. The main street, Bleecker Street was pretty. However, the shops which lined the street were not particularly unique. Why do I have to see the same names everywhere nowadays? Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors,  Comptoir des Cotonnier, A.P.C, Lulu Guinness, and Sandro and so on. They are so ubiquitous, aren’t they? I sighed.

Let’s find something more original and also some gelato. I headed towards Lower Manhattan…

At NoHo, I came across a car park resembling a bicycle storage…

Also the film “Tarzan” was just released in NYC then so the posters were all over the place.

When I reached to East Village, I became so desparately hot and thirsty. Out of desparation, I walked into a vintage fashion shop and asked the shop owner if she knew any gelato place in the vicinity. Unfortunately, there weren’t nothing alike in the neighbourhood but she googled it for me and found one in Lower East Side.

A poster on the wall in East Village…

Over the car park, I could see the sign of the famous Katz’s Delicatessen glowing in the mid afternoon sunshine…

The gelato bar I was recommended was brilliant. I had black sesami and green tea. It tasted so good after 3 hours of trekking through the Big Apple. I was so dog-tired by then. My calves as well as shins were overworked by the long walk and started to protest with pain and ache.

New York subway was a little grubby…

However, a huge brownie point for me was they were air-conditioned!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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