We went on an extended weekend-trip (4 full days) to New York in September 2014. We had both been there several times before and absolutely love the city. When I was still living in Munich and thinking about moving abroad again in late 2005, New York and Hong Kong were on the top of my list, with London only ranking third. However, I’m glad that U.S. visa requirements and Hong Kong’s relatively low pay packages for non-expats led to my move to London in January 2006, because otherwise I would not have met my wife who is now blogging here with me as Berkeley Square Barbarian.
She had bought the tickets and booked the hotel to celebrate my birthday. It was our first trip together to this city, and each of us showed the other one around places we had been to on our own in previous years.
I had once, in 1995, just after finishing the one-year obligatory military service and before uni, done a one-month internship with a Catholic charity that assisted with the renovation of Manhattan’s oldest synagogue, Anshe Chesed Synagogue, now known as the Angel Orensanz Center, in Norfolk Street, just south of Houston, and showed my wife around the premises. We went to Katz’s Delicatessen for the outrageously delicious pastrami sandwiches I had enjoyed 20 years earlier with my colleagues. I was shocked to see CBGBs, a legendary, tiny, tube-like rock club (CBGB stands for Country Blue-Grass Blues) transformed into a designer-wear store. My wife showed me where she had been with her girlfriends and the NY offices of her then employer she had visited each year for a few days.
We stayed at a hotel 5mins walk away from Wall Street in Downtown. Initially it was more of a fall-back scenario solution in lack of other affordable hotels, considering we’d both have preferred further north, maybe Greenwich Village or Midtown, but it turned out to be perfect. Right next to the hotel were several great restaurants and bars, most of them literally in the very same block. There are many things to explore in Downtown and you can easily reach New York’s most exciting areas such as Tribeca, East Village, Greenwich Village, West Village, Meatpacking District and so on by foot. For anything further North we usually took the subway from a station 5mins walk away from the hotel and got there in just a few minutes.
It is amazing how many new skyscrapers and other crazy new building projects are being completed in such short time frames. I had not yet seen the new World Trade Center and the Ground Zero memorial completed. Or the new Bank of America Building or the Frank Gehry residential skyscraper near Brooklyn Bridge.
We had dinner at one of Robert de Niro’s Italian restaurants in Tribeca, which was delicious, or Spice Market in the Meatpacking District, had lobster and oysters at the nearby (near to Spice Market) indoor food market, but the best culinary experience came completely unexpected when we popped into the café/restaurant of the Neue Galerie (near MoMA, in 5th Ave), Café Sabarsky. They serve very tasty simple Viennese dishes like schnitzel or sausages and great cake and strudel in a typical Viennese restaurant atmosphere, very pleasant experience.