Friday, November 12, 2010


The first thing that I did when I got to New York was fall asleep on O's wonderful paisley print sheet bed, so when I woke up at 10AM to the sounds of sirens and traffic, I felt like I was still in a dream. When O informed me that she is now dating a vegan anarchist from Brooklyn who has sleeves full of tattoos, and so now she no longer eats meat, I wasn't sure if it was still part of the dream. I met O, who is also Korean, while we were both studying at the University of Amsterdam last year, but she is originally from Orange County and is a Cornell Law School grad. She now works at a law office in the Empire State building, which she assures me sounds way cooler than it actually is, because historical buildings are, well, old.

O recently found out that she passed the very difficult New York Bar exam so she wanted to spend the day buying herself a bar gift. But first - what did I want to do? It's been over ten years since I last came to the Big Apple, so it was like exploring a new city for me. When we used to live in upstate New York, we used to come into the city on weekends to visit the World Trade Center and eat chajangmyun. obviously we couldn't do the former activity anymore but we certainly could do the latter.

So O and I made our way to 32nd Street, also known as Korea Way, to have some chajangmyun for breakfast (or lunch, as it was now 11AM). On our way, we came across the Veterans Day parade and had a chance to see the Korean War veterans march by, accompanied by throngs of Korean dancers and musicians banging their drums and blaring their Korean horns. It made for a pretty cool soundtrack to my first New York chajangmyun in over a decade.

After our chajangmyun breakfast/brunch/lunch, we headed for Madison Avenue for O's bar gift purchase, taking what I think was my first New York subway, I think possibly ever. There once we arrived, we perused through all these stores with expensive sounding European names like Bergdorf Goodman and Goyard and Louis Vuitton. There was a lot of fur and leather and references of baby goats that would probably give PETA indigestions. I began a game of "how many awesome guitars could I have if i stole and sold this purse" (Example: "This flesh-toned Givenchy purse looks like a vulva....and costs $2000.") After much advise from friendly gay salesmen, O finally chose for herself a cute black Yves Saint Laurent handbag, which despite my total lack of fashion knowledge, does charmingly reflect the new New York lawyer she is becoming.

After our Fifth Avenue shopping experience, we wandered through Central Park which was just lovely because of the sunny warm New York autumn weather that almost made me forget that i had been snowed in on Halloween back in Ottawa. There was a jazz band playing in one part of the park, which was charming. There was also a metal band playing in another part of the park, which was not as charming. All this greenspace right in the middle of the city with families strolling by and enjoying themselves reminded me and O of Vondelpark, back in the Netherlands. There really is something special about urban parks.

Afterwards we went to momofuku ssam bar with S and K. but I'll tell you about it later. Today K is taking me to Brooklyn, so I've been spending all morning listening to Brooklyn bands like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and the Vivian Girls. I have, however, decided against wearing jeggings out in public. But the awesome vintage boots are coming out.