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Life in New York City

Written by  Claire Grant Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Life in New York City kaysha

Time is flying by so quickly in New York and I have now been here for over 5 weeks and I’m almost halfway-through my internship with the UN. My department are giving me lots of interesting work to do and after expressing an interest in translation projects, I’m getting to use my language skills a lot which is great.

I’m also trying to make the most of the UN experience by attending meetings when I can, and I have been going to several events organised by the internship office, such as the debate club for instance. This has been a great way to meet people and make friends, which we all know isn’t easy when you go abroad on your own. I have met lots of people from all over the world, and some of them have been living in New York for years so have given me a great insight into local life. Thanks to them, I have discovered some amazing places to go which I thought I would share with you all.

The Museum Mile

New York is known for its high-quality museums, but many visitors get put off by the entrance fees. However, museums like the Met and the American Museum of Natural History give suggested admission prices and therefore it’s understood that you simply pay what you can afford. I visited the latter recently (for a mere $6!) and it is incredible – 5 floors of exhibitions about planet earth, nature and everything else in between plus an amazing planetarium. It’s well worth a visit. If you have more time to spare, you may pay as you wish on Saturday evenings at the famous Guggenheim; Sunday mornings at the Frick Collection and Wednesday evenings at El Museo del Barrio and MoMA. So if you are a fan of museums, you’ll certainly never get bored here.

Eating Out in the East Village

Here, food shopping is quite expensive and many people eat out often as some cafés and restaurants do good deals. Weekend brunches are also very popular. You can find any sort of cuisine you like, and you’re never far from a 99cent pizza bar here! I can recommend the East Village area of New York for lots of quirky restaurants and bars, including Café Mogador (Moroccan), Pylos (Greek), Cienfuegos (Cuban) and Lil Frankie’s (Italian). The East Village is also popular with vintage shoppers as there are lots of unusual boutiques and thrift shops. While in New York, everyone should try a pretzel from Auntie Anne’s and cupcakes from the famous Magnolia Bakery or Crumbs. Of course, you always need a trusty supermarket and I have discovered Trader Joe’s which is extremely good value and sells a good range of fresh, frozen and organic foods.

Exploring

When you want to burn off all the calories from the amazing food, New York has lots of great parks where you can go for a walk and explore. The High Line Park is a must-see – it is a new kind of city park built on and around an old risen railway track which runs from the Meatpacking District to Chelsea. Try to go mid-week when it’s not packed with tourists and enjoy the city’s sights from above. On a sunny day it’s also nice to walk by the Hudson River, and of course Central Park has plenty of hidden gems to discover, including Strawberry Fields and the Boathouse overlooking the lake where you can rent boats or bicycles. The Staten Island ferry is also popular with visitors as it’s free and offers brilliant views of downtown Manhattan.

 

I’ve already seen quite a lot of Manhattan and soon I hope to explore Brooklyn and the other boroughs. It’s getting colder now and the New York winter will soon be upon us. I’m excited for the “holiday season” – Halloween, Thanksgiving and the run-up to Christmas. Just like my Erasmus year, this internship is giving me the opportunity to experience a whole new country like a local for a few months. While in France and Spain, I really tried to submerge myself in the local culture by surrounding myself with natives. Obviously, interacting with locals in a non-English-speaking country can help to improve your language skills, however, if you find yourself in the US, it can also help you to get the most from the experience and, like me, help you to discover places you probably would never have otherwise.

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