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New York means different things to different people.

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To some it means watching Broadway musicals for straight days or going gaga in the M&M’s store or the Apple store (depending on your interest). To some it means visiting places where some hollywood movies were filmed or going bonkers in outlet stores and shop till they drop (or until their credit cards are maxed out).

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For some people, it means fulfilling their American dreams.

Ika nga ni manay Liza Minelli, “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.”

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I met a Japanese who works in an insurance company who aspires to live here and be a jazz singer (he sang “Fly me to the Moon” at 3am before I left), a Brazilian bakery-owner who wants to study English, a Thai-Finnish death metal musician who hopes to make it in the music scene (he kept on hugging me because he was happy to discover that I am 1-an asian, 2- an artist, and 3-a solo traveller in NY) and then there’s the hostel receptionist who dreams of becoming an actor in Hollywood.

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For me this trip to America means following my art.

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My New York means discovering its music scene – even if it means going alone to music halls and bars. Finding wonderful surprises on the street like these musicians I saw performing outside the flat iron building, surrounded by a huge crowd. When I was watching them, I thought to myself “if you are good, people will come.” I bought their cd (City of the Sun) and told them that I want to collaborate with them for an upcoming exhibition.

Then at the subway, there was this drummer playing reggae beats on his drum set. A man handed him a dollar and the drummer gave a peace sign, smiled and said “respect!” Next thing I know, the man started singing and do-wopping (I just made this word up) with the drummer. I was smiling the whole time listening and watching them. Then the train arrived and mister jazzman just hopped on. Oh, that moment was just magical!

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My New York also means eating its burgers and bagels and one dollar pizza late at night,

trying out their pretzels and hotdogs from food trucks,

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Strolling from midtown (34th street) to Chinatown (way past the 1st street) and back,

then walking again from Manhattan to Brooklyn just to eat,

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Taking yellow cab rides when it’s too late to take the train,

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Buying the cheapest ticket to watch broadway musicals and play.

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I watched the “Curious incident of the dog in the night time” and inside the theater, I asked the usherette where I was supposed to sit. She hollered “You see that seat back there? Way way up there at the end, next to the control booth, well that’s your seat!” Si ate naman, ang loud ;p Pinangalandakan pa ang aking kacheapan, hahaha. But even with the partial view, I still thoroughly enjoyed the play (it was my favorite actually). I also watched “Once“, where I got a bit teary-eyed and “Pippin” that I didn’t like at all!

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My New York means falling in line to catch Jeff Koons‘ retrospective on its last day (I loved and hated it), and falling in love with Matisse’ cut-outs (broke down and cried) in MOMA.

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It means following my friends’ tipid tips (will elaborate later on in another blog entry) and not shop at all (wow, c’est possible!) The only thing I bought was a pencil in MOMA to write my thoughts and ideas from the exhibition. For me, it was better to spend on art, music and of course food!

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So this is MY New York.

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What about you?

What does New York mean to you?


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