Only in New York…

Surfing through a selection of New York City photos on Flickr, I came across Thomas Wolfe’s famous quote, “One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” I found myself instantly in agreement, especially since I’d more appropriately classify myself in the former group. I felt an immediate sense of belonging to the place, almost a sense of affection for a city that is probably one of the few truly international cities in the world.

‘Celebrating diversity’ is not just another platitude here. I see it being celebrated in the Bangladeshi cabbie, the neighbourhoods of Chinatown and Little Italy within kissing distance of each other, and in the everyday subway ride in the life of an average New Yorker!  I first had this realization of being part of a great cultural mosaic as I stood in a queue waiting for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. As I caught snatches of the jumbled up conversations, I could feel the Tower of Babel come alive. That feeling has remained permanently etched in my mind. And I think to myself, where else but in New York!

In an international city, can food be far behind? Food trends in New York, like fashion changes every year. The year 2011 is supposed to be the year for pop-up restaurants. As the name suggests, pop-up restaurants ‘pop up’ as temporary restaurant installations, where celebrity chefs cook a meal for an invite-only crowd. Such chi-chi events are all fine and dandy when you have the money, but for cheap and delicious, bring on the pushcarts and food trucks! After all, where else would you find the most scrumptious middle-eastern pilaf-on-a-cart except maybe in the middle-east?  There’s a long queue (I’ve realised all good things in life come with a queue) and I become conscious of the fact that even the line for food epitomises New York’s diversity  – blue-collar immigrant workers, corporate executives, students and tourists all waiting for their turn! Where else, but in New York?!