So yesterday was the big day when I was going to NYC to meet the two Swedish bloggers Petra, aka Sporty Spice and Saltis! I wasn’t too nervous about the meeting even if I had never met the girls before – through the blogs you get a feeling for if you would get along with the person, or not.
I took the train from New Brunswick, NJ at 9 o’clock in the morning – my first time on a train in the US! My first 3 impressons were: wow, the train station looks like an old English station! Not what I expected, an old classical building. I noticed that there were many Indians and other Asian-looking people waiting for the train (unlike Puerto Rico where everybody is either Puerto Rican or American) and then it hit me… it’s COLD!! What a great feeling!
It takes around one hour to get to NYC, arriving at Penn Station just behind Madison Square Garden. I walked up 7th Avenue – changed to 6th, saw the neon lights on Time Square and was quickly at my meeting point with Petra; Bryant Park. Another impression: people walk fast in NYC – yes! It makes me mad when people drag their feet just infront of me… And all the languages – it felt strange not hearing just Spanish!
It was a sunny, but cold crisp winter day and I was enjoying the weather while waiting for the other Petra. She arrived just when I was bending down to tie my shoe lace – ha ha! Are you Petra? she said to me in Swedish while I had my head upside down 😉 Anyway, we immediately started talking and didn’t really stop until almost 7 hours later when we parted ways!
We decided to walk to the Guggenheim museum (5th Ave at 89th street). I think that it is the way to see NYC – on foot, especially when it is such a beautiful day as yesterday. It was weird talking to another Petra, I have never known anybody else with the same name as mine… But, it really felt like we had known each other forever, and we had so much to talk about!
Unfortunately the building housing the Guggenheim museum is under renovation so we couldn’t see the cool exterior (architect: Frank Lloyd Wright) but the interior is as spectacular – especially at the moment as there are nine full-sized cars suspended from the ceiling in the rotunda (central hall). I had never visited the museum before, but the Peggy Guggenheim* museum in Venice (see link on the right under Travel Links) is one of my favourite museums! The main exhibition by Cai Guo-Qiang was interesting, a mix of different installations such as the suspended cars, as well as fake tigers and wolves, and a work-in-progress of clay statues. We didn’t like everything but the artist’s so-called paintings were beautiful. At first we just thought that they were paintings until we saw one of the videos of the making – gunpowder is arranged in patterns on paper and then lit to burn the surface. The result is quite astonishing!
After our cultural session, it was decided that we needed a shopping session! We headed to H&M on 5th Avenue – apparently not the only Swedish girls thinking the same thing… I needed some basic clothes since my luggage had been lost on my way to Newark the day before (it has since then been retrieved and delivered to our hotel!). It was funny, even if I hadn’t met Petra before, I could still tell what kind of clothes she would like 🙂
The Swedish café / Espresso Bar Fika was our next stop, on our way we passed by the cinema called Paris where Carrie sees a French film in the episode Anchors away! (Petra has just written an article on SaTC locations in NYC!). Fika really is a Swedish café – everything from the interior (photos of the Swedish artists Petter and Titiyo) to the names of the sandwiches (Göteborg, Malmö, Överkalix, Stockholm) and the grandmother biscuits (Bondkakor, Drömmar, Kokostoppar etc). And no, the cinnamon buns are not glazed… We felt right at home, and had an extended lunch / fika while chatting (of course), listening to Bo Kaspers Orkester (Swedish band) and waiting for Saltis.
Both Petra’s boyfriend and mine called during the day to check up on how our meeting was going, wondering if we were getting along or if it was a complete disaster… Like I said to O – Petra and Petra are having fika at Fika – such a combination just had to be destiny!
Saltis arrived, we had another coffee and asked her lots of questions about her life in NYC and compared notes on expat life on this side of the Atlantic. I feel a little like an American expat virgin with my 3 months in Puerto Rico compared to the other girls’ ~2 years but it seems like I have been here longer… maybe because I have been reading the blogs, and I was preparing for this move for so long.
I had such a perfect day yesterday and it does feel like I have two new friends – hopefully we will be able to meet up again soon. Why not organise somehow a blog-meeting with all the other girls? Hm, have to think about that one – how, where and when would be crucial questions… For now, I’m on my way to San Francisco this afternoon and I’m looking forward to meeting the California girls next!
Unfortunately I didn’t take a lot of photos yesterday but here’s the proof that we actually met:
*) Some art trivia: Peggy Guggenheim was the niece of Solomon Guggenheim (the full name of the NYC museum is the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum) and she led a very interesting and exciting life among the now very famous modern artists in the 1930-1960’s. Her autobiography Out of this century. Confessions of an art addict is a fascinating read – I would almost compare her to Paris Hilton of her day.